The Prime Minister of Cambodia is one of many punters feeling the sting of Floyd Mayweather’s win in “the fight of the century” last Saturday.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in office for 30 years, is refusing to pay up on $US5,000 (£3,300) bet he made on Manny Pacquiao beating Mayweather, deeming the result of the fight “unfair.”
However, according to The Financial Times, it’s not the Prime Minister’s refusal to pay the stake that makes this situation intriguing, but the fact that the PM has previously claimed his only income is his official salary of just over £750 per month.
In 2011, Hun Sen publicly declared his assets to the country’s then new anti-corruption unit, claiming that he lives solely on his salary of 4.6 million riel (£757.63) per month. Though the Prime Minister gave no further details of the wager, it seems highly unlikely that he put almost half of his salary toward a single bet.
The public admission of his failed gamble will no doubt fuel criticism from his oppositions who claim corruption and election-rigging have been rife throughout his rule.
However, it’s not just the leader’s salary that is raising concern, but also the fact that Hun Sen has publicly disclosed his wager despite gambling being illegal in Cambodia for over four decades.
The Cambodian government completely outlawed gambling in the 1970s, but in 1996, a new law made it legal for foreign visitors to the country to gamble, but leaving Cambodian citizens still unable to do so.
Though the legislature is relatively lax, with many casinos turning a blind-eye to the regulations, it’s still strange for the most prominent figure in Cambodian politics to so openly admit his breaking of the law.
Breaking of the 1996 law is usually punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment.
According to The Cambodia Daily, the PM spent approximately fifteen minutes of a speech lambasting the American judges of Saturday night’s $US300 million fight.
“I didn’t expect that American judges would be so weak,” he said. “I just know America clearly now. Judges made a unanimous decision to make a winner become a loser.”
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