Risa asks China FM to help arrest vaccine smugglers

Published January 15, 2021, 11:08 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Sen. Risa Hontiveros appealed to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Friday to help Philippine law enforcement agencies arrest and deport Chinese syndicates, especially those involved in the smuggling of illegal vaccines into the country.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros (Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Dapat ma-aresto at ma-deport na ang mga Chinese na kriminal sa ating bansa (Chinese criminals here in our country should be arrested and deported). Our country is not a crime scene for Chinese,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

The Chinese foreign minister should also include those with ties to the local Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) industry.

“China’s foreign minister should cooperate with our government to completely crack down on crime,” she said.

“Kung gaano yung pagka-agresibo nila sa pag-aangkin sa West Philippine Sea, sana agresibo din sila sa pag-aresto ng kanilang mga kriminal dito (I hope they are aggressive in arresting their criminals here in the same way they are aggressive in claiming our West Philippine Sea),” the senator said.

Hontiveros pointed out that the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested seven Chinese and one Filipino who were involved in the kidnapping, raping, and killing of Chinese POGO workers in San Pedro, Laguna this week alone.

She said the case is just one of the many crimes linked to the POGO industry.

“Perhaps the foreign minister can help our Department of Foreign Affairs in resolving issues affecting our local POGO industry,” said the lawmaker who led the Senate investigation on POGO-related prostitution in the Philippines.

“We need to stop these syndicates before they become more comfortable with the local terrain and start victimizing more Filipinos,” she stressed.

Last December, Hontiveros challenged the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to prosecute more illegal Chinese workers, after over 300 Chinese employees were arrested for carrying out illegal online gambling activities in Tarlac.

Last week, the senator also urged Beijing authorities to lead its own inquiry into the unauthorized entry of COVID-19 vaccines into the Philippines, following the reported illegal inoculation of members of the Presidential Security Group Group.