Philippines cracks down on POGO scam, deports 165 Chinese nationals  

Jenny Ortiz 2 months ago
Philippines cracks down on POGO scam, deports 165 Chinese nationals  

The Philippines deported 165 Chinese nationals employed by a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) in Bamban, Tarlac. 

The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) confirmed the deportation of 165 out of 167 Chinese workers to Pudong District, Shanghai. Meanwhile, two individuals face pending cases in the Philippines, involving trafficking in persons and serious illegal detention charges. 

Upon reaching China, the deported individuals will undergo a 45-day detention period while charges are prepared. Additionally, they will be blacklisted by the Philippines’ immigration bureau. 

Assets frozen, compound raided 

Following a directive from Malacañang Palace, the Anti-Money Laundering Council froze Zun Yuan’s assets, including its compound. The raid on March 14 uncovered 408 workers from various nationalities involved in the POGO operation. 

Uncovering exploitation 

Authorities revealed that the deported Chinese nationals engaged in scamming activities and lacked proper travel documents, categorizing them as “undesirable aliens”. Many were reportedly coerced into the operation, with their passports confiscated to prevent their departure.  

The Chinese Embassy acknowledged the deportation, emphasizing joint efforts to combat fraud, kidnapping, and other crimes related to offshore gambling. This collaboration underscores both countries’ commitment to curbing illegal activities in the region. 

The Chinese government had been vocal in its commitment to maintaining pressure on illegal activities and protecting the public from the dangers of cross-border gambling and telecom fraud.  

Syndicates exploit vulnerable workers 

The crackdown reflects broader challenges across Southeast Asia, where crime syndicates exploit workers, often under false pretences, to engage in fraudulent online activities. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime highlights the scale of this issue, with victims coerced into participating in elaborate scams, exacerbating financial losses regionally. 

This comprehensive action not only addresses immediate concerns but also signals a concerted effort to combat transnational crime and protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation in the region’s burgeoning online gaming industry. 

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