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Philippines’ anti-crime body files new charges against Pasay POGO executives

Prosecutors have received testimony from 10 Chinese nationals implicating seven of their compatriots in illicit activities at a Pasay City-based POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator) firm raided last year.

According to a report from the Philippine News Agency, Winston Romeo Casio, spokesperson for the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), underscored that these testimonies provide additional evidence of unlawful forced labor and the exploitation of personnel at Smart Web Technology Corp.

Casio confirmed that they have identified seven individuals responsible, all of whom are still present in the country.

The testimonies provided by the 10 witnesses will undergo evaluation by prosecutors to determine the viability of pursuing legal action.

Last October, an anti-human trafficking task force, spearheaded by the Department of Justice, conducted a raid that exposed an elaborate operation within a six-story building on Williams Street in Pasay City.

The facility featured a nine-room KTV section, a pharmacy equipped with a physician and two patient beds, a restaurant, and a hotpot “shabu-shabu” area. Additionally, nine money vaults were found on the premises.

Chinese workers were allegedly being forcibly detained on the premises and displayed physical evidence of torture.

Approximately 731 workers, among them seven Filipinas, were rescued from an aquarium-style viewing chamber located on the second floor of a massage parlor within the building.

According to the PAOCC, personnel from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) had previously attempted to inspect the area. However, their efforts were thwarted when the compound’s guards denied them entry.

Due to its charter, PAGCOR must partner with various law enforcement bodies in order to carry out raids and inspections on certain suspect operations, with a push to increase PAGCOR’s purview to give it “more teeth”.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.



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