166 illegal Chinese workers from Tarlac POGO hub deported

By Ferdinand Patinio and Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

May 14, 2024, 6:19 pm Updated on May 14, 2024, 8:42 pm

MANILA – All but one of 167 Chinese nationals engaged in offshore gambling and caught in a raid in Bamban, Tarlac were deported on Tuesday.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said one of the Chinese was deferred departure after she was found to have a pending estafa case in the country.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said the deportation was the result of close coordination between Filipino and Chinese law enforcement authorities and demonstrates the two nations’ “strong determination” to jointly combat fraud, kidnapping and other crimes related to offshore gambling.

“The Chinese government has always taken tough measures to combat gambling,” the Embassy said in a statement.

“The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines will continue to strengthen practical law enforcement cooperation with the Philippine side, and support the latter in addressing the root cause of crimes related to offshore gambling,” it added.

The Embassy underscored that online gambling, cross-border gambling by Chinese nationals, and running casinos outside China to solicit Chinese nationals are illegal in China.

The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) said the Chinese worked at a “scam hub” in Bamban.

PAOCC Undersecretary Gilbert Cruz said in a television interview that they failed to present working visas and passports during the raid at the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) compound early March.

The official said those directly involved will face human trafficking charges.

Cruz said 40 more Chinese nationals are set for deportation soon

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the Chinese nationals boarded a Philippine Airlines flight to Shanghai Pudong airport from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City.

He said they are now included in the BI blacklist which bars them from re-entering the Philippines. (PNA)