Foreign nationals, mostly Chinese, put their hands on their heads during a raid of their company premises in Manila. File photo/ AP
Philippine authorities said on Friday they arrested 342 Chinese workers in a raid on an unlicensed gambling operation, part of a crackdown on illegal migration and an illicit gaming industry that is being fuelled by mainland China’s appetite for betting.
Licensed online gaming operations introduced in 2016 have been a boon in bringing money to the Philippine economy, but illegal businesses attracting massive numbers of Chinese migrants have also mushroomed, due largely to vested interests, corruption and weak law enforcement.
Illegal operations far outnumber those being regulated, and do not pay no tax. Law enforcement bodies and the Chinese government suspect some are fronts for crime, including money laundering.
The Chinese arrested late on Thursday were at a registered gambling firm that had yet to secure a license from the state gaming regulator.
“We had reason to suspect that the company is a front for illegal cyber activities and investment scams,” said Fortunato Manahan, chief of the Bureau of Immigration’s intelligence division.
Though Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has good relations with China, where gambling is prohibited, he has refused its request to ban gaming operations that cater to mainland Chinese.
Chinese gaming companies and their employees have been blamed for driving up office and residential rent, so much so that Makati City, Manila’s main business hub, has banned the issue of new licenses to gaming firms.
In August, Cambodia heeded Chinese pressure to ban online gambling, which has drawn both Chinese investment and crime to the country.
The brutal 600km MacArthur competition in the Philippines pits competitors against searing heat, wild seas, vicious predators and even kidnapping.
Philippines’ annual inflation eased more than expected in June as food and fuel costs increased at a slower pace, the statistics agency said on Friday, supporting views that the central bank would cut rates at its policy meeting in August.
The head of a Philippine online news site, among media agencies deemed critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, was arrested again on Friday, this time over an alleged investment violation.
Around 14 others have been missing since lightning struck one of the facility's eight tanks on Friday night.
Nursing mothers infected with the viral diseases Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Monkey Pox must be cautious when breastfeeding.
An African working as a security official in a luxury hotel in Dubai stole $8,800 from a safe in a room where an Asian was staying after abusing his powers of entering rooms, using a computer and a program to open and reprogram safes, for guests in emergency cases. The Dubai Criminal Court sentenced him to three months in jail to be followed by deportation and fined him an equivalent amount in the local currency.