By Richa Noriega
The Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said over 2,000 Chinese nationals who work for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) have been deported after authorities discovered they have criminal records in China.
According to a report by GMA News on Wednesday, many Chinese nationals in the country who work for POGO firms have criminal reports in China, PAGCOR and Chinese Embassy revealed.
“We are trying to clean up the industry kasi ang dami ngang issues na lumalabas (because there are a lot of issues involved). Part of it is ‘yung involvement nga sa kung ano anong, parang ‘yung industry daw nagdala ng criminal activities (involvement to different industries that brought criminal activities),” Jose Tria, PAGCOR assistant vice president for Offshore Gaming and Licensing Department, was quoted in a report by GMA News.
“‘Pag hindi sinu-surrender then that’s the time we seek the help of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and pinapahuli ang mga taong ito,” Tria added. (If they did not surrender then that’s the time we seek the help of the BI and put these people involved in jail.)
PAGCOR said the Chinese Embassy directed employers to deport Chinese nationals with criminal reports.
According to the report, PAGCOR revealed that around 70,000 Chinese nationals are part of the POGO industry, while 2,000 have been deported last Jan. 15.
Meanwhile, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian urged authorities on Sunday to hunt down Chinese syndicates in the country’s POGO industry to arrest and bring them to jail.
Gatchalian expressed fear that Filipino workers could soon be the next target of these syndicates unless the government, particularly the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI), step up their efforts against the proliferation of these Chinese criminal syndicates in the country.
The senator said these government agencies should work together as an inter-agency task force, with the help of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) to intensify the crackdown on these criminal groups.
The Senate Labor and Employment Committee under Sen. Joel Villanueva earlier cited accumulated media reports specifying that there were 634 Chinese fugitives coming from several POGO service providers who were arrested from September 2019 to January 2020.
Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval said they will cancel the permits of Chinese nationals involved in telecommunications fraud.
A BI report also showed it deported 886 foreign criminals who were confirmed fugitives from 2017. Officials said they were either undocumented or had no visa or working permit. (With a report from Hannah Torregoza)