Pogo leisure hub in Porac has firing range, tunnel
EXCLUSIVE TO CHINESE GUESTS

Pogo leisure hub in Porac has firing range, tunnel

Pogo leisure hub in Porac has firing range, tunnel

Inquirer file photo

PORAC, PAMPANGA, Philippines — The police on Saturday found an indoor firing range and an underground tunnel during a search on a high-end resort that was apparently built for the exclusive use of Chinese executives working at a nearby Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) here and in Bamban town, Tarlac province.

The firing range, initially reported by a resort worker to be a warehouse, was discovered just behind a 20-foot-high concrete wall on Daisy Street in Purok 6, Barangay Señora, according to Col. Jay Dimaandal, the Pampanga police director.

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The 2-hectare resort is located about 2 kilometers from Porac-Angeles City Road and 5 km from Grand Palazzo Royale where the Pogo firm Lucky South 99 leases a 10-ha property and has built a total of 46 buildings from 2019 to 2023.

“Even the PNP (Philippine National Police) does not have this [kind of a firing range]. It is equipped with an electronic control for pistol and rifle targets. It is made soundproof by concrete walls and roofs,” Dimaandal said in a statement on Saturday.

READ: Gov’t probes possible link between dead foreigners, illegal Pogos

The gunnery was “actively used,” Dimaandal said, based on the slugs recovered. The firing range was found inside a fully enclosed building.

Tips from civilians

A door leading to the underground tunnel was discovered on the first floor of another two-story structure—practically a mansion—that had about 10 bedrooms. Its furnishings included wine cabinets (emptied when found) and massage chairs.

From its stairs, one can see another structure—a two-bedroom house built in the middle of a pond.

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Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda requested a search of the resort after receiving information about Lucky South 99, whose Pogo hub in Porac was raided twice last month over reports of human trafficking, torture, prostitution and money scams, according to Provincial Board Member Ananias Canlas Jr.

The information came from public hearings, police intelligence reports and tips from civilians, said Canlas, who led the provincial council’s inquiry into the company’s operations.

Executive Judge Robert Alexander Malig of the San Fernando Regional Trial Court’s Third Judicial Region issued a search warrant for Saturday’s raid. It listed Katherine Cassandra Li Ong, Gheric Pagcu Manaloto or any persons they were employing as respondents in an investigation for alleged human trafficking.

Ong is reportedly the girlfriend of the brother of Bamban Mayor Alice Guo, who was suspended following the raids on the Pogo run by Zuan Yuan Technology Inc. inside the Baufo Land Development hub behind the municipal hall in March.

‘Bamban employees’

The search teams failed to find Ong and Manaloto, but they found two Filipino incorporators of Whirlwind Corp., the company that leased the land to Lucky South 99, namely Daniel Salcedo Jr. and Chona Alejandre.

Speaking to the Inquirer, Salcedo denied being a Whirlwind incorporator, saying the documents he signed for the company were only for payments of real property tax.

The police earlier said they had monitored Salcedo taking two Viber calls from a certain Casey Li, allegedly another name used by Ong.

Alejandre, who looked shaken as the search got under way, said she only served food and drinks to the resort’s Chinese guests.

Three more women and three men were invited by the police for questioning. They later claimed to be employed as cleaners at the resort.

Some of their names appeared on a list of “Bamban employees”—an apparent payroll—that was found by the investigators, Canlas said.

They also denied having information on two Chinese nationals—Xiang Tan and Jing Gu—whose names appear in government documents as incorporators of Whirlwind and Lucky South.

The Inquirer saw a picture of Ong—plus about 30 pairs of shoes—in one of the rooms that was searched.

Lake, helipad, ‘fortress’

In a statement, Canlas described the resort to be a “well-funded structure.”

An initial inventory also took note of its swimming pool, man-made lake, garden, salon, spa, KTV bar, game rooms, entertainment centers and helipad.

“It’s like a fortress,” Canlas said, referring to the high walls hiding the resort from public view.

According to Governor Pineda, the municipal engineer’s office said it had not issued building permits for these structures, making them illegal.

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An elderly man in the locality, who agreed to talk to the Inquirer, recalled seeing Chinese-looking individuals smoking outside the wall and hearing helicopter landings and takeoffs in the area almost weekly late last year.

TAGS: Bamban, Chinese illegal workers, illegal POGO, Porac town

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