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Matsu Islands to vote on casino resort

Residents in the Matsu Islands go to the polls on Saturday in a referendum to decide whether to build a controversial casino resort. Observers predict a close result despite overwhelming opposition to the scheme when the proposal was submitted to authorities last year. A poll conducted just after authorities announced the referendum in April showed more than 70 percent of Matsu residents opposed the casino but a recent survey suggests the “yes” and “no” camps are running neck and neck. Opponents say a casino would be morally wrong, destructive and also threaten the livelihoods people already working in the islands’ tourism industry. Those in favor say a casino would bring much-needed revenue to the islands, which lie 16 nautical miles off the coast of mainland China’s Fujian province. Around 7,760 people are eligible to vote in the referendum.
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