Concerned that Filipino workers will soon be targeted next, Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to hunt down Chinese crime syndicates in the country’s POGO industry, arrest them and bring them to jail.
Gatchalian made the call amid reports of kidnapping incidents that these syndicates carry out even against their fellow nationals who are working in the offshore gaming industry. What is even worse, the veteran legislator added, is when these foreign criminal groups turn to human trafficking and the kidnapping of Filipinos.
“The PNP, NBI and the BI need to step up their efforts in hunting down these syndicates.”
“The PNP, NBI and the BI need to step up their efforts in hunting down these syndicates who are not only into kidnapping activities but at the same time have been operating prostitution dens and many forms of human trafficking. They should go to jail,” the seasoned lawmaker stressed.
To intensify its crackdown on these criminal groups, the senator proposes to create an inter-agency task force that will be composed of the PNP, NBI, and BI, with the help of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) that will unify, synchronize, and optimize efforts and resources in the handling, investigation, and prosecution of kidnapping and human trafficking cases in the country.
He wants the PNP to intensify its police visibility by conducting regular checkpoints and security patrols around Metro Manila. Most POGO operations are concentrated in the Makati Central Business District, the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, and the bay area in the cities of Pasay and Parañaque.
“The Bureau of Immigration should beef up border security to ward off the entry of illegal foreign traffickers.”
He also called on the BI to implement stricter immigration monitoring and beef up border security to ward off the entry of illegal foreign traffickers. Border officers should be in close coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy and the PNP Maritime Group.
The Senate Labor Committee cited accumulated media reports specifying that there were 634 Chinese fugitives coming from several POGO service providers who were arrested from September 2019 to January 2020. Most of them were involved in various forms of investment scams, 14 were into online phishing and one led a criminal syndicate.
The same report showed that the number of prostitution dens ballooned in the same period which led to the arrest of 77 Chinese women involved and in the rescue of 241 trafficked Chinese, Taiwanese and Filipino women who were forced into prostitution.
The committee also cited a BI report showing that it has deported 886 foreign criminals who were confirmed fugitives from 2017. They were either undocumented or had no visa or working permits.
Meanwhile, data from the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG), show that the number of abduction cases involving Chinese nationals rose by 71% to 58 cases in 2019 from 34 cases in 2018. Of these 58 cases, there were 31 incidents of casino-related kidnappings or victims abducted by their loan-sharks after accumulating huge debts.