PNP: 758 foreign workers processed so far in Las Piñas POGO probe

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

July 6, 2023, 6:55 pm

<p>PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo <em>(PNA photo by Lloyd Caliwan)</em></p>

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo (PNA photo by Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA – Authorities have so far processed a total of 758 foreign workers who were rescued during a search warrant operation at a compound housing an alleged illegal Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) in Las Piñas City late last month.

"As of 2 a.m. today (Thursday), 758 foreign workers have been processed. The biometrics processing and interviews are ongoing. We thank the representatives of the embassies for their assistance so that the extraction of information on their foreign nationals would be faster," Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a press briefing in Camp Crame on Thursday.

The number is out of a total of 1,239 foreign workers found at the compound during the raid on June 27.

As a result of the profiling, the PNP isolated seven foreign nationals with warrants -- four from China and three from Taiwan -- pending their turnover to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

Fajardo said the PNP continues to profile foreign nationals linked to the firm XinChuang Network Technologies as part of an ongoing effort aimed at validating the identification of individuals that may be involved in illicit activities.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,534 Filipino workers who were also found at the establishment have been processed and were cleared to leave.

In a separate statement, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said from Tuesday to Wednesday, a total of 320 personnel from various units of the PNP, including the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG), Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB), Regional Headquarters (RHQ), Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT-7), Regional Maritime Unit (RMDU), Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO), Legal Service (LS), Las Piñas City Police Station (CPS), Intelligence Group (IG), and Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC), have been deployed to ensure completion of all required investigative procedures.

As part of the investigation, a total of 63 vaults have been opened out of the 139 seized as the inventory of recovered items was managed by the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) and witnessed by representatives from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and barangay officials.

He added the PNP and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, have been conducting a meticulous investigation into illicit activities involving XinChuang Network Technologies and as part of this process, several warrants have been obtained to search and seize computer data at the company's premises.

"The PNP with the support of other government agencies continue to exert their best efforts to ensure a thorough and fair investigation, which will aid in bringing justice to those involved in illicit activities," Acorda stressed.

No POGO-linked kidnap cases in 1st semester 2023

Meanwhile, the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) said there were no kidnapping cases involving POGOs from January to June this year, as compared to 14 cases in the same period last year.

The PNP-AKG has recorded 12 cases of kidnapping this year -- eight of which involved foreigners while four involved Filipinos.

So far, AKG has remained focused on traditional kidnapping methods, casino-related kidnapping and POGO-related kidnapping. (PNA)