More than 300 undocumented Chinese nationals involved in offshore gaming operations (POGO) were apprehended by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) assisted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Monday morning.
Palawan News sources indicated that the Chinese nationals were also involved in other illegal cyber activities, including investment scam operations.
The Chinese nationals were reportedly rounded up from at least eight different accommodation establishments around the city.
A Palawan News source also said all the Chinese nationals were relocated to one of the inns raided in the city for validation and verification.
Confiscated from them were laptops, cellphones, and other gadgets used for gaming.
Councilor Jimmy Carbonell, who temporarily sat as presiding officer during a City Council probe in March regarding the investigation of the alleged operation of online gambling games in 13 hotels and inns, declined to comment regarding the immigration raids.
“Kung anong mga agencies ang mga kasama dyan siguro sila ang dapat magpaliwanag. Mahirap ‘yong mag-comment tayo ng hindi natin nalalaman ‘yong situation. Baka sabihin pa na nakikialam tayo,” Carbonell said.
An inquiry conducted by the City Council in March indicated a list of establishments catering to the Chinese national presently in the city ostensibly working in POGO operations.
The list includes Royal Oberoi Resort Hotel & Spa, Casa Fuerte Bed and Breakfast, La Charica Inn and Suites, Aquari Travelers Suites, Kookaburra, White View Hotel, Balai Hardin, Tropical Sun Inn, Ipil Suites, Westville Tourists Inn, Audissie, Cecilia’s Comfort Inn and in the building of Unitop Shopping Mall.
Authorities are still conducting validation and verification through biometrics and checking of visas and passports.