Chinese nationals again arrested in PNP's war on illegal gambling

MANILA, Philippines – The latest to fall in the Philippine National Police (PNP)'s war against illegal online gambling are 15 young Chinese nationals who face charges of violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. 

The Chinese nationals were brought to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday, February 28, for inquest proceedings. They were arrested in Pasig City on Monday night, February 27, by operatives from the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group.

The PNP-ACG raided YD International Incorporated in Ortigas, Pasig City on tips they were illegally operating gambling operations without a permit from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

China enforces very strict rules on betting and gambling, which has prompted operators to host their domains in other countries as a workaround. 

The gambling website in question had been monitored by the PNP-ACG for two months before the raid on Monday.

"Ang mga kliyente kasi ng website ay mga Chinese national din, kaya Chinese din ang mga worker. Kung Pinoy kasi ang kukunin pag-aaralin mo pa," said Police Superintendent Jay Guillermo, spokesperson of the PNP-ACG.

(The clients are also Chinese nationals, that's why they hire Chinese nationals also. If they hire Filipinos, they would have to train them as opposed to the Chinese.)

Guillermo said the Chinese nationals will be turned over to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

He added that they had entered the country on a tourist visa. When their visas lapse, they exit and reenter the Philippines on another tourist visa.

The PNP has implemented  a "war on illegal gambling" following the scandal involving high-ranking officials from the BI.

BI executives Al Argosino and Michael Robles were accused of extorting P50 million from gaming tycoon Jack Lam to free the undocumented Chinese workers arrested in his casino in Pampanga. This has triggered a Senate probe that tagged even Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who admitted to having been once at the receiving end of Lam's bribery offer.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said they have a "double-barrel" plan in their crackdown on illegal gambling, which will be similar to their strategy thus far in their war on drugs. –

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.