The Philippines may have rejected calls by China to shut down online gambling operations but it continues to step up its crackdown on those operating illegally with around 600 Chinese workers reported to have been arrested this week alone.
According to BusinessWorld, 324 undocumented Chinese nations will be deported after they were arrested in western Palawan province on Monday, while another 277 were apprehended for conducting illegal online operations in Pasig City on Wednesday. The Immigration Bureau said they had received information from Chinese authorities that the accused are wanted in China for fraud and investment scams.
Inside Asian Gaming previously reported that 181 Chinese nationals were arrested during a raid by local police in Lapu-Lapu City early last week amid alleged confusion over whether or not the company they work for is a licensed Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO).
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last month rejected calls by China to shut down its POGO industry following a meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, although the Department of Finance has since ordered the closure of any POGOs found not to be paying their taxes.
China’s issue with the POGO industry emerged in early August when the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines released a statement expressing its concerns over the proposed transfer of Chinese workers employed by POGOs to self-contained hubs and warning against the illegal inducement of Chinese citizens to gamble either online or in Philippines land-based casinos.
Gaming regulator PAGCOR responded by placing a moratorium on the issuance of new gaming licenses while it addressed such concerns, however Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang then upped the ante, stating, “We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling” and describing online gambling as “the most dangerous tumor in modern society detested by people all across the world.”
Despite those comments and the issue being briefly discussed during his meeting with President Xi, Duterte confirmed the nation’s POGO industry will continue.