Lao politics at the time would have been grist for Shakespeare’s mill: a king without power, royal princes working toward conflicting goals, corrupt politicians selling influence and position, and military officers manipulating the system. Mainly because of the infusion of aid funds and supplies coming into Laos, there was a lot of money to be made in Vientiane. Graft and corruption thrived. Working discreetly (sometimes openly) with Lao politicians and military officers, foreign merchants siphoned off huge sums of official money.