Chinese Casino Workers to Move to Self-Contained Hubs in the Philippines

  • Move planned by PAGCOR heavily criticized by Chinese embassy in Philippines
  • Claims workers being lured to work illegally and subjected to "modern slavery"
  • China promises to crack down on organized gambling and illegal recruitment of citizens
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Chinese casino workers face being separated from Filipinos to limit interaction, as per PAGCOR’s plan.

Infringes basic legal rights

The Philippines is planning to move Chinese casino workers to self-contained communities to restrict their interaction with Filipinos. The move has been criticized by the Chinese embassy in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, reports Coconuts Manila.

In a notice posted on its website, the embassy stated that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) plan “may infringe on the basic legal rights of the Chinese citizens concerned.”

The embassy adds that, as per Chinese laws and regulations, “any form of gambling by Chinese citizens, including online gambling,  gambling overseas, opening casinos overseas to attract citizens of China as primary customers, is illegal.”

The PAGCOR plan “may infringe on the basic legal rights of the Chinese citizens concerned.”

A large number of Chinese citizens have been illegally recruited and hired in the Philippine gambling industry, the notice reads.

PAGCOR vice president’s remarks

The embassy’s comments follow remarks made by Jose Tria, PAGCOR vice president for offshore gaming, during The Chiefs, a television talk show.

Tria said they were planning to move the Chinese workers to self-contained hubs to reduce conflict between the Chinese and Filipinos. According to the Coconuts Manila report, many Filipino citizens had become uncomfortable with the growing presence of Chinese nationals in the Philippines. To minimize interaction, he said,

We will move them there so that they’re easier to monitor.”

The Chinese embassy has urged the Philippines government to “protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”

“Modern slavery”

According to the Chinese embassy, the gambling industry in the Philippines is at fault. It noted that “in many cases, the employers of Philippine casinos, POGOs (Philippine offshore gaming operators) and other forms of gambling entities do not apply necessary legal work permits for their Chinese employees.”

It also observed that Chinese citizens may be “lured into and cheated to work illegally with only tourist visas.”

There are several issues China’s embassy has with the treatment of workers when they are flown to work at casinos in the Philippines. One regards the use of cross-border money laundering. This, according to the embassy, involves underground banking, which “undermines China’s financial supervision and financial security.” A second concern relates to crime and social problems in China as a result of illegal gambling. Thirdly, the embassy is concerned about Chinese residents working illegally in Philippine casinos being subjected to “modern slavery due to the severe limitation of their personal freedom.”

Promises to crack down on illegal activities

The Chinese embassy has also pointed out that passports are taken away by Philippine employers, and that workers are “confined to live and work in certain designated places.” It said:

“The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the crackdown on cross-border gambling activities. The Ministry of Public Security of China has taken many actions and will carry out more special operations aimed at preventing and combating the cross-border gambling.”

Promising to crack down on major cases, the Chinese embassy highlights that China will focus on those including organized gambling overseas and opening online gaming. It will also clamp down on the networks of criminal organizations that are involved in recruiting Chinese workers overseas.