By Chino Leyco
State-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has ordered offshore gaming operators to surrender their Chinese nationals who are illegally working in the country.
In a statement, the government’s gaming regulator said late Wednesday that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) should turnover to the Chinese embassy all illegal workers with suspected criminal liabilities.
Earlier, the Chinese embassy in Manila announced that it has a list of Chinese nationals who are suspected to be engaged in cybercrime operations outside China.
According to the embassy, these Chinese nationals are “committing long-term telecommunication fraud crimes abroad, who are classified as the persons prohibited from exiting China.”
“The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines has repeatedly issued consular reminders and has been keeping close communications with the Philippine government in this regard. The relevant departments of both countries also conducted a series of law enforcement cooperation,” the embassy said in a statement.
In response, Pagcor welcomed the measures being undertaken by the Chinese embassy including the crackdown of its nationals with criminal records and are illegally working or doing business in the country.
Pagcor said it is in constant coordination with the Chinese embassy and Philippine law enforcement agencies to ensure that proper regulations are observed.
“With China’s recent move, illegal Chinese workers who are involved in various cybercrime fraud – including those who are employed in the POGOs – will have to face the consequences,” Pagcor said.
Since January last year, Pagcor said that at least 2,000 or three percent of the 70,000 Chinese nationals who were illegally working in POGOs and in other fraudulent offshore operations were already repatriated to their country.
“Pagcor will continue to cooperate closely with the Chinese embassy and other law enforcement agencies to help arrest illegal aliens and penalize employers who are coddling Chinese fugitives,” the gaming regulator said.
“PAGCOR is enjoining all POGO operators to surrender to the Chinese embassy all illegal workers with suspected criminal liabilities,” it added.
Pagcor said that all problems related to illegal gambling and cybercrimes will be coursed through the Department of Justice.
“With this shared effort, Pagcor can be ensured that all operations being made by the law enforcement agencies are in accordance with the law,” the regulator said.