Philippine authorities detained as many as 324 Chinese citizens employed by online gambling operators this past Monday. The immigrants were arrested in the coastal city of Puerto Princesa in the Palawan Island located in the western part of the country. The local immigration bureau cited involvement in illegal online gambling operations as one of the reasons for the arrests.
The agents of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration were assisted by troops during the raids, which took place in eight hotels, among several other establishments, in the country’s western province. According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the immigrants were caught red-handed while involved in the illegal activities.
Morente commented yesterday that the Chinese immigrants are to be deported to their native country. Another reason for the Chinese nationals’ deportation is that they have violated the conditions for their sojourn in the Philippines.
Additionally, the immigrants were found to have been working without permission granted by the local authorities. Morente revealed that according to initial reports, most of these Chinese citizens enter the country as tourists but overstay their welcome in the Philippines. Their sojourn is not even documented.
The operation that took place on Monday was part of a large crackdown the Philippine authorities have launched jointly with China’s government. Many Chinese citizens who enter the Philippines as tourists find employment with online gambling operations. The latter are prohibited by law in their native China.
Most Immigrants Work for Online Gambling Operators without Permits
During the raids, Philippine authorities seized hundreds of mobile devices and laptop computers from the detained immigrants. It was established many of the arrested failed to produce any travel documents as proof for their identity.
The large number of Chinese nationals spotted near the military camps in Puerto Princesa raised concerns among local authorities. According to one immigration official, the city’s authorities complained about the increasing number of these aliens and this was one of the main reasons for the Monday’s raids.
Immigration Commissioner Morente assured Philippine authorities will remain unrelenting in their battle against illegal workers from neighboring China. He stated many of these people use his country as a platform for illicit activities, such as illegal online gambling, investment frauds, and other cybercrimes.
Only last Wednesday, the authorities of Manila seized 277 Chinese immigrants who were members of an online crime syndicate that robbed hundreds of their compatriots from their investments. China’s embassy revealed last month that many people who immigrate to the Philippines find employment in the gambling sector. They work without the official permission of the Philippine authorities.
The online gambling operators that employ the aliens service mostly customers from China where such activities are prohibited by law. This causes an enormous flow of illegal funds into the Philippines. Many of the illegal Chinese recruits also face poor working conditions. They suffer physical abuse and have their passports seized from them.
As of June 2019, more than 8,000 immigrants are employed in the online gambling sector without having the necessary permits, the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment revealed today. Most of them have arrived from China while the rest come from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand.