Mongla lies close to the China and Myanmar border and it has now gained an infamous reputation for being a hotbed for gambling activities along with prostitution and drugs.
Chinese tourists are frequent visitors and apart from the above illegal activities, there is also a huge market for illegally traded wildlife – something that Chinese consumers can’t get to seem enough of. The region is dominated by the illicit trade while gambling and the sex trade draws in tourists who are looking for a good time.
Though technically still part of Myanmar, Mongla looks to China for direction when it comes to what is allowed and what is not allowed. This is mainly because the region is separated from the rest of the country by an eastern range of mountains.
Thanks to this, self-government is the rule and why so much illegal activity takes place.
With its dependence on its Chinese neighbour, most people here speak Mandarin and pay in Yuan. The phone networks actually connect to Chinese networks rather than Myanmar ones.
This is what makes it perfect for Chinese consumers who want access to highly illegal wildlife products and spend tons of money gambling and partying. The centre of the trade is mainly in Panghsang, a city in northern Mongla. The authorities turn a blind eye here which has caused these illegal activities to gain a notorious reputation.
Gambling And Prostitution
People who go further north of Panghsang will be able to experience the other side of Mongla. There is a thriving gambling industry and a lot of prostitution. The main businesses in town offer both, which is what lures in the wealthy of Myanmar, while a third of the country’s people are mired in poverty.
There are two main casinos in town: the Venetian Casino and Diamond International. These provide top-flight entertainment for VIPs, while bouncers keep the undesirables away. The place is a boomtown, with construction being done constantly to accommodate the continued influx of people seeking employment and entertainment.
Currently, rooms cost $600 a night in some up-market location, with some casinos providing it for their VIP clientele free of cost. There are hundreds of sex workers in the city for those who are looking for companionship. Many people come to Mongla looking for work, with many of them hoping to send money home. Unfortunately, the allure of all the casinos and brothels can be too much for them causing a lot of problems for all concerned.
It is precisely locations like Mongla which have little to no regulation that give the rest of the regulated gambling industry a bad rap.