By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

(File graphics)

MANILA – The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Friday urged the Philippines to ban offshore gaming operators or POGOs in the country, reiterating its position against Chinese nationals engaging in gambling business abroad.

In a statement, the embassy said nearly 3,000 Chinese citizens have been implicated in POGO-related crimes, including telecom fraud, since 2018.

In 2023 alone, it said, China has assisted the Philippines in shutting down five POGO hubs and repatriating nearly 1,000 Chinese citizens.

“The vast majority of the Chinese citizens involved in these cases are victims of the Philippine offshore gambling industry. The Chinese government is committed to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens,” it said.

“We appeal to the Philippines to ban POGO at an early date so as to root out this social ill.”

READ: Crime syndicates pretending as POGOs nat’l security concern: DND chief

The statement comes amid recent raids conducted by Philippine law enforcement agencies against several POGO hubs that led to the detention of a huge number of suspects, including Chinese citizens.

Authorities have raided POGO firms in Tarlac and Pampanga in the past four months.

A POGO in Bamban was raided on March 14, with its workers allegedly involved in “scamming activities” and did not have proper travel documents, according to the Bureau of Immigration.

Meanwhile, the recent raid in another POGO firm in Porac yielded what appeared to be Chinese military uniforms and pins, raising serious concerns about national security. (PNA)