A Fijian court handed down a sentence and ordered a Chinese casino developer to pay $650,000 on April 28 for causing substantial damage to the environment while undertaking unauthorized development on Malolo Island in Fiji’s west.
The case also highlighted the marathon struggle of Australian surfers Navrin Fox and Woody Jack who held a stake in the land adjacent to the one owned by the Chinese company, Freesoul Real Estate. Freesoul had ripped out a part of a reef, dumped waste, blocked other landowners, and disturbed traditional fisheries to build a resort and Fiji’s first-ever casino.
Fox and Jack helped bring attention to this case and managed to stop the environmental destruction. Yet many other Chinese-linked casino projects in the Pacific are causing less visible forms of harm, and are flying under the radar away from public scrutiny, experts say.
Casinos are China’s tools to serve its expansionist and influence operations in vulnerable, investment hungry economies like those of the Pacific Island Countries (PICs), according to experts and sources who told the Epoch Times that setting up casinos is one of the first things the Chinese ask for when a PIC says it’s open to investment.