Many Chinese illegally recruited to PH gambling sector

MANILAThe Chinese embassy in Manila on Thursday claimed that a "large number" of Chinese nationals have been illegally recruited and hired in the Philippine gambling industry.

"In many cases, the employers of Philippine casinos, POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations) and other forms of gambling entities do not apply necessary legal work permits for their Chinese employees," the embassy said in a press statement.

"Some Chinese citizens are even lured into and cheated to work illegally with only tourist visas," it added.

The statement came following the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation's proposal to transfer foreigners, including Chinese, working for POGOs to hubs solely dedicated to offshore gaming in the country, a move Beijing fears may infringe its national's basic legal rights.

On the issue of illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines, the embassy said the Chinese government does not condone its nationals illegally working in a host country.

"The Chinese embassy solemnly warned that relevant Chinese companies or individuals in the Philippines immediately stop relevant illegal activities, otherwise they will be punished in accordance with Chinese law," it said.

Under Chinese laws, it noted that any form of gambling for Chinese nationals is illegal.

In the Philippines, casinos, and POGOs primarily targeted Chinese citizens as its primary customers, the embassy said.

"The fact that the Philippine casinos and POGOs and other forms of gambling entities are targeting Chinese customers has severely affected the Chinese side," it said, noting a "huge amount of Chinese fund" was being flown "illegally" from China to the Philippines.

"A conservative estimate shows that gambling-related funds flowing illegally out of China and into the Philippines amounts to hundreds of millions of Chinese Yuan every year. There are analysts who believe that part of the illegal gambling funds has flown into local real estate markets and other sectors in the Philippines," the embassy added.

'Modern slavery'

The Chinese side even borrowed a description that many of the Chinese citizens working illegally in the Philippine casinos or POGOs have been subjected to "modern slavery due to severe limitation of their personal freedom."

"Their passports are taken away or confiscated by the Philippine employers. They are confined to live and work in certain designated places and some of them have been subjected to extortion, physical abuse, and torture as well as other ill-treatment," the embassy said.

"At the same time, dozens of kidnappings and tortured cases of Chinese citizens who gamble or work illegally in gambling entities in the Philippines have taken place," it added.

The embassy also urged the government to address the illegal employment of Chinese nationals and crackdown on crimes affecting them. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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