Over 800 Filipinos, foreign Pogo workers rescued in Tarlac raid

Over 800 Filipinos, foreign Pogo workers rescued in Tarlac raid

/ 05:04 AM March 14, 2024

Over 800 Filipino, foreign Pogo workers rescued in Tarlac raid

CRACKDOWN Some of the more than 800 Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) workers “rescued” from a complex run by a Chinese company in Bamban, Tarlac, await instructions from authorities on Wednesday. They include 497 foreigners, most of them Chinese. —PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-ORGANIZED CRIME COMMISSION PHOTO

MABALACAT CITY—Authorities from various government agencies rescued 371 Filipinos and 497 foreigners from a Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) allegedly involved in human trafficking in Bamban town, Tarlac province, on Wednesday.

Winston Casio, spokesperson for the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), told the Inquirer in a phone interview that the rescued Pogo workers included 427 Chinese, 57 Vietnamese, eight Malaysians, three Taiwanese, two Indonesians and two Rwandans.


He said two search warrants issued by a regional trial court in Bulacan province were served against the Chinese-owned Zun Yuan Technology Inc. at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.


READ: Cops rescue 2,714 workers during Pogo complex raid in Las Piñas

“One of the warrants was for violation of Republic Act [No.] 9208 as amended by RA 10364, or human trafficking, and the other one was for serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code,” he said.

Casio said the request for warrants was made after the Malaysian Embassy provided the PAOCC with information about a Malaysian national being held, detained and forced to work inside one of the 36 multistory buildings of the Chinese company at Sitio Pagasa in Bamban’s Anupul village.

On Feb. 28, a Vietnamese worker of the company managed to escape and contacted authorities, disclosing that there were many workers there who needed to be rescued, he said.

Info from embassy

“We were able to retrieve the Vietnamese worker in Bamban and bring him to a safe house in Manila. The information from the Malaysian Embassy and the statement of the Vietnamese worker were our bases for seeking warrants against the Pogo company,” Casio said.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) acted as the lead agency in serving the warrants against the company. It was joined by the PAOCC, different police units and soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.


Casio said the PAOCC asked the Bureau of Immigration to conduct an immigration inquest on the rescued foreigners, whose working visas would be canceled and would be sent back to their countries of origin.

He said the CIDG and Department of Justice prosecutors were still assessing available information to determine who among the company officers should be charged for offenses cited in the warrants.

Casio said they also requested the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to cancel the Pogo license of Zun Yuan Technology, which is among the 105 Pagcor-accredited service providers in the country.

He said the Anti-Money Laundering Council was already asked to assess the value of the company’s properties in Bamban which would be forfeited by the national government.

Huge property

“I’m not sure how many hectares are involved here but it is a very large property. It has 36 buildings which have three to seven stories [each]. The property is really huge,” he said.

Casio noted that the raided Pogo in Bamban was the biggest so far in terms of the company’s land area and properties.

On May 5, 2023, authorities rescued 171 Filipinos and 919 foreign workers from a Pogo in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga province.

Police anticybercrime operatives and representatives of various agencies, including the PAOCC, raided the Colorful and Leap Group Co. which was renting a building at the Sun Valley Hub inside the free port.


Just like the Clark-based Pogo, Casio said Zun Yuan Technology was also allegedly involved in cryptocurrency investment scams.

Casio said there were also pieces of evidence that the firm was involved in “love scams” or the act of manipulating victims to give scammers money in the guise of romance or friendship.

Authorities found and confiscated at least six firearms and magazines and bullets from the company’s premises. They are checking if these guns have valid licenses and other required documents.

It was learned from a CIDG report that the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group would request the court for another warrant to search the contents of the Chinese company’s computers.

On its website, Zun Yuan Technology describes itself as “a dynamic and innovative corporation specializing in internet gambling and operation” which was established in 2023.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

It boasts of its “comprehensive range of well-equipped facilities” within its premises, including multiple large power generators that can be used in cases of power outages, a large cafeteria, a convenience store, and a professional billiards room with several pool tables

TAGS: pogo, rescue, workers

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.