China, Philippines Join Forces to Fight Illegal Online Gambling

  • The Chinese embassy in Manila issued a statement announcing partnership with local authorities
  • Partnership will focus on cracking down on illegal online gambling and telecommunication fraud
  • Passports of thousands of Chinese nationals working illegally for POGOs have been canceled
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The Chinese embassy in Manila has announced that will be working closely with the Philippines to clamp down on illegal online gambling and telecommunication fraud. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Statement released by Chinese embassy

China has committed to working closely with authorities in the Philippines to fight against online gambling and telecommunication fraud.

The Chinese embassy in Manila released a statement confirming this new partnership on Sunday. It will be focusing on the criminal activity that some Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) may be committing.

The embassy spoke about the aim of this partnership being to “effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of nationals of the two countries, and to promote the China-Philippines friendship and cooperation.”

criminal activity that some Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) may be committing

The Chinese government has long expressed concerns that online gambling sites from other nations in the region are targeting residents in mainland China, where gambling is illegal. 

The embassy spoke about the significant increase in the level of crimes relating to online gambling. It also spoke about the rise in crimes related to these activities, such as money laundering, extortion, illegal employment, kidnapping, and even murder. 

Crackdown on POGOs continues

A catalyst for this statement being issued by the Chinese embassy was a report from local media relating to Chinese nationals working for POGOs. This report alleged that the Chinese government canceled thousands of passports belonging to Chinese nationals who were working for online gambling operators in the Philippines.

China’s Ministry of Public Security was also given a list of Chinese nationals who were suspected of being involved in international telecom fraud over the course of many years. As per the Exit and Entry Administration Laws in China, these people are not allowed to exit China.

Chinese nationals working abroad

There is also an obligation from the Chinese government for its citizens who are residing in other countries to comply with the regulations and laws in that given country.

There has been a significant problem in the Philippines with Chinese nationals working in the online gambling sector illegally. 

In relation to this matter, numerous consular reminders have been issued to Chinese nationals in other countries.

An interesting relationship

While China and the Philippines have generally had a courteous relationship in recent times, they were on rocky ground for a while due to their stances on online gambling.

Last year the Chinese government asked countries with significant online gambling operations, such as Cambodia and the Philippines, to make online gambling sites illegal. Cambodia complied with this request. However, the Philippines refused to do so due to POGOs being a major source of revenue and employment in the country.

The Philippines did agree to focus more on preventing POGOs from targeting residents of mainland China. The authorities have also cracked down on operators who have been avoiding their tax obligations. Many POGOs were seen to be using illegal Chinese nationals for employment purposes, with these people avoiding taxes.