Immigration bureau deports 75 Chinese nationals for illegal POGO operations
This photo shows Chinese POGO workers waiting to be booked at the Quezon City Police District at Camp Karingal following their arrest in December 2019.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, file
Immigration bureau deports 75 Chinese nationals for illegal POGO operations
(Philstar.com) - August 13, 2020 - 5:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has deported 75 Chinese nationals arrested in December 2019 for illegal online gaming operations in the country.

In a statement on Thursday, the Bureau of Immigration said the arrested foreign nationals departed the country via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Wednesday, August 12, aboard a chartered plane bound for Zhengzhou, China.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the 75 Chinese workers were arrested late last year but their deportation was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"They were expelled pursuant to a summary deportation order issued against them by our Board of Commissioners for violating our immigration laws and being undesirable aliens," the BI Chief said.

BI Intelligence Chief Fortunato Manahan Jr. added that 75 foreign nationals were among the more than 300 Chinese nationals arrested in their rented offices in Bago Bantay, Quezon City in December 2019.

The operation was conducted by joint operatives of the BI Intelligence Division and Quezon City Police District.

Manahan said the arrested Chinese nationals violated the conditions of their stay as tourists and were working without proper permits and engaging in unauthorized online gaming operations.

“Chinese authorities said that they were engaged in cyber crime activities and investment scams that victimized many of their compatriots in China,” Manahan added.

Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, director of the QCPD, said the Chinese workers were supposedly employed by Lambda Business Processing Outsourcing, a POGO registered with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).

However, Manahan said despite having a license from PAGCOR, the POGO company is not yet allowed to operate.

“We sought the assistance of the gaming regulator in confirming the company’s permit. We found out that Lambda was duly licensed, but is not yet allowed to operate,” Manahan then-said.

Morente said the Chinese nationals nationals will be prosecuted economic crimes upon their arrival in their homeland. They are also placed on an immigration blacklist and be barred from re-entering the Philippines.  — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from The STAR/Non Alquitran, Romina Cabrera

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