Philippines Raids Reveal Secret Plastic Surgery Centers for Illegal Online Casino Operatives

  • One raid netted “hair transplant tools, dental implants and skin whitening IV drips”
  • A suspected Chinese mafia figure allegedly underwent the knife to avoid detection
  • Raid also netted a hemodialysis machine, which is used to clean patients’ blood
Plastic surgery
Raids on Philippines hospitals have revealed secret plastic surgery centers believed to be servicing illegal online casino operatives. [Image:]

Clandestine hospitals

Police raids on two clandestine hospitals in the Philippines have revealed plastic surgery operations for shady clientele that allegedly includes illegal online casino operatives and scam center workers.  

secret hospitals offering criminals new faces”

A BBC report on the “secret hospitals offering criminals new faces” published on Tuesday cited a Philippines police spokesperson as stating the hospitals could be closed down “in the coming weeks.”

The spokesperson referenced a raid on one clandestine hospital in the southern suburbs of the capital city of Manila back in May and another in Pasay City two months ago. The latter raid netted “hair transplant tools, dental implants and skin whitening IV drips.”

“You can create an entirely new person out of those,” stated Presidential Anti-Organised Crime Commission (PAOCC) spokesperson Winston John Casio.

The ability to change appearance has obvious appeal to the sophisticated criminal gangs from China operating illegal online casinos and scam centers.   

Made in China, remade in Manila

An example of a Chinese national getting a change of identity in the Philippines, which might be linked to the plastic surgery hospitals Casio said, comes from 2022.

In December of that year, Philippine officials arrested a suspected Chinese mafia figure who allegedly underwent the knife to give police the slip. Following the raids this year, the PAOCC spokesperson stated clientele of the hospitals do indeed allegedly include persons involved in the illegal casino trade and scam centers.

According to the BBC, police arrested two doctors from Vietnam and one from China in the Pasay raid; none of the three are licensed to practice in the Philippines.

Despite being licensed to operate in the Philippines, Philippine Online Gaming Operations (POGOs) are mainland China focused, where gambling is outlawed. Though the government took in more than ₱5bn (US$85.5m) last year from licensees, Senator Joel Villanueva in late June announced he was drumming up support for a bill that would end the issuance of licenses to POGOs, basically banning them outright. Villanueva claims certain POGOs are engaged in kidnapping, human trafficking, and running scam centers.

Sophisticated equipment

According to Casio, while the suspect hospitals resemble typical clinics, “once you enter, you’ll be shocked by the type of technology they have.” In the bust, authorities also discovered a hemodialysis machine, or an artificial kidney, which is used to clean patients’ blood.

Casio also stated that fugitives or illegal aliens have no problem getting treated, because: “These Pogo hospitals don’t ask for the proper identification cards.”

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