he Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group yesterday warned the government that Chinese syndicates have been evolving and becoming more violent in their kidnap-for-ransom activities in POGO firms and casinos.
Vallery Hache/AFP
Pagcor welcomes China’s crackdown on felons in POGOs
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - February 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) welcomed the efforts of the Chinese embassy in Manila to crack down on Chinese citizens with criminal records who are now in the country working in Philippine offshore gaming operator or POGO companies.

The Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) yesterday warned the government that Chinese syndicates have been evolving and becoming more violent in their kidnap-for-ransom activities in POGO firms and casinos.

Maj. Ronaldo Lumactod, AKG spokesman, issued the warning as the number of casino-related kidnappings increased by 137.5 percent to 38 in 2019 from 16 in 2018. The number of victims also increased from 17 to 42.

The AKG recorded nine cases of POGO-related abductions in 2019 where 13 have been victimized while there were no cases in 2018.

According Lumactod, Chinese kidnappers are conniving with soldiers and policemen who act as  protectors of the Chinese gangs.

He cited a recent case in Pampanga wherein a Filipino was found to be involved in the kidnapping of a Chinese citizen.

“They hire protective agents armed with guns,” Lumactod said in Filipino.

They also received intelligence information that unscrupulous Chinese men have resorted to even robbing other Chinese in the country.

Lumactod is not discounting the possibility that Chinese men are involved in kidnap for ransom and other illegal activities.

While some cases  have prospered in court, the police official said there were instances where the victims refused to pursue criminal charges out of fear.

Lumactod said the suspects would threaten the victims that their relatives in China will be killed if they are convicted.

“That’s the time the victims withdraw,” he said.

Pagcor, in a statement, said the agency had been coordinating with the Chinese embassy and law enforcement agencies to ensure that proper regulations are observed by the POGO operators.

“With China’s recent move, illegal Chinese workers who are involved in various cybercrime fraud – including those who are employed in POGOs – will have to face the consequences,” Pagcor said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

A Pagcor official said that since Jan. 15 last year, at least 2,000 or three percent of the 70,000 Chinese nationals illegally working in POGOs and in other fraudulent offshore operations were already repatriated to their country. – With Rainier Allan Ronda, Mary Grace Padin

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