Authorities arrested 63 Chinese nationals engaged in illegal operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) in Makati City, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said on Wednesday.
NCRPO chief, Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas said the operatives from the Southern Police District (SPD), Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA), local police and the Makati Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) raided six rooms of a building at No. 8884, Obrero St., in Barangay Olympia at around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The operation stemmed from the information from a confidential informant regarding online illegal gambling activities operated by a Chinese national identified as Xiao Bao.
Arrested during the operation were 63 Chinese nationals and 13 Filipino employees while the initial target of the operation and alleged owner of the business entity, Xiao Bao, remains at large.
Seized from the suspects were several laptops and cellular phones which were allegedly being used in their illegal POGO operations.
Police said the suspects were brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City as charges against them are being prepared.
BPLO records showed that the business entity located in the address was not registered.
It also violated the order of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) suspending all POGO operations and all its service providers during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Sinas appealed to the public, including foreigners who are staying in the metro, to comply with the existing laws especially at this time of health crisis.
“We would like to reiterate our plea for cooperation from all the people in the Metro including our foreign friends who are staying here to please observe due compliance to all existing laws especially the further extended ECQ protocols to alleviate the difficulties brought by this pandemic not just to our front-liners but to each of us alike,” he said.
Around 60 POGOs have secured licenses to operate from PAGCOR while around 218 POGO service providers in the country have 108,914 foreign employees.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier said revenues from POGOs could be used as additional funds for Covid-19 response. PNA.GOV.PH