Probe on source of POGO raid 'leak' underway

Probe on source of POGO raid 'leak' underway
File photo shows online gaming
AFP / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) is investigating a potential internal leak following a recent "compromised" raid on the sprawling Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) compound in Porac, Pampanga. 

PAOCC spokesperson Winston John Casio said that all members of the different government agencies who participated in the operation have been subjected to investigation, including himself.
"Someone, somewhere, in the long chain of government or in the process of applying for the search warrant leaked this particular information," Casio said during an interview with ANC's Headstart on Thursday.

This comes after reported that the raid on Wednesday resulted in the arrest of 158 Chinese, Vietnamese and Malaysian nationals, far fewer than the expected 1,000. He suggested that the operation might have been compromised by a leak.

"We arrived on June 4 — the entire complex was dark, closed, and no one was inside the facility anymore," the PAOCC official said.

A total of 157 foreigners suspected to be POGO workers were caught leaving the compound of Lucky South 99 in Porac, Pampanga just as authorities were about to conduct a "welfare check."

Authorities believe large numbers of POGO workers and company officials were able to escape before the PAOCC team reached the site. Casio said only over 140 individuals were arrested during the operation out of the over 1,000 foreign nationals believed to be working in the POGO hub — the biggest in Porac, Pampanga.

This development had alarmed senators Risa Hontiveros and Sherwin Gatchalian, the latter of whom believes that Chinese syndicates have already infiltrated the country's court system.

The Supreme Court has vowed to investigate this allegation.

Casio said that when authorities arrived in the compound, the entire complex was "already dark" with no one present in the facilities.

"So where are they? I could hazard a guess that they simply relocated to other scam farms all over Central Luzon and Metro Manila," the PAOCC official added.

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