PH, China to intensify campaign vs illegal POGOs

The Philippines and China expressed their willingness and readiness to intensify their efforts against crimes linked to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), a statement from the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) said on Tuesday, July 2.

The anti-crime body made the statement after “fruitful discussion” between PAOCC Chairman and Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian on addressing transnational criminal activities.

According to the PAOCC, “China expressed its appreciation for the recent actions taken by Philippine law enforcement authorities to counter illegal offshore gambling and to rescue several Chinese nationals.”

“The strengthened cooperation between China and the Philippines sends a clear message to criminal syndicates operating across borders that their malicious activities will not be tolerated nor allowed to undermine the security and stability of these nations,” the statement read.

“It also paves the way for the exchange of expertise, intelligence sharing, and collaborations, enabling the authorities on both sides to effectively disrupt and dismantle criminal networks,” it added.

Both countries are confident that with the “renewed commitment” to take proactive steps to protect the people and maintain law and order, they will be “well-positioned to overcome any challenges and ensure that justice prevails over criminal activities.”

The statement also noted how the Chinese Embassy in Manila has been “actively collaborating and maintaining open communication channels with their Philippine counterparts” in addressing criminal activities linked to POGOs.

“This mutual support demonstrates the commitment and determination of both countries to curb transnational organized crime effectively,” it added.

A raid of a POGO facility in Angeles City, Pampanga resulted in the apprehension of 190 people, while another raid in Bamban, Tarlac also led to the rescue of 499 foreign workers.