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PAOCC to go after 400 illegal POGO hubs

June 25, 2024 Alfred P. Dalizon 186 views

THE Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) is going after some 400 illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) hubs believed to have been turned into ‘scam farms’ in different parts of the country, PAOCC Executive Director Gilbert DC Cruz said.

The official said they are seeking the assistance of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and other allied law enforcement agencies in going after these illegal POGO establishments.

“Records showed that only 46 POGO companies renewed their licenses from PAGCOR, meaning all the rest are operating without permits. We are going after them because we need to.

These illegal POGO hubs have been the source of major crimes like murder, kidnappings, torture, scams, prostitution and human trafficking among others,” Cruz told the Journal Group.

The official said that the smallest of these POGO companies are operating with a minimum of 300 ‘workers’ while the bigger ones employ as much as 5,000 ‘workers/scammers.’

Cruz agreed with Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos Jr. and PNP chief, General Rommel Francisco D. Marbil’s that they need the support of local government units in unmasking illegal POGOs in the country.

The PAOCC chief also revealed a known manager of the raided POGO hubs in Porac, Pampanga and Bamban, Tarlac is now under the custody of the Bureau of Immigration after she was prevented from leaving the country via Davao International Airport last Sunday.

He said that Xiang Jie alias ‘Boss Jingga’ and her purported husband were accosted at the Davao airport and barred from leaving the country on the strength of an Immigration Lookout Bulletin approved by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla Jr.

The two have been locked up at the BID warden’s facility in Manila, he added.

Usec. Cruz said they are checking the records of the male companion of Xiang Jie amid suspicions he is really not her husband.

If they find evidence that will fully link the two to the illegal POGO activities in Central Luzon, Cruz said they will also charge them with human trafficking.

The official said they have also sought a court order to open 53 locked vaults discovered inside the raided Porac POGO hub.

He expressed suspicion that those vaults were used to store valuable documents as well as the passports of foreign workers hired by the company.

The PAOCC official said they are also making sure that with the support of the PNP-CIDG headed by Major Gen. Leo M. Francisco, they will be able to present complete pieces of evidence that will bolster the criminal cases against embattled Mayor Alice Guo.

Maj. Gen. Francisco earlier said the public can expect more raids against illegal POGO hubs in the country in the days to come.

The PAOCC is also seeking a Hold-Departure Order on Guo to prevent Guo from leaving the country.

Cruz said they are still gathering more pieces of evidence against Guo and company as of press time even as he added they were checking a video which showed a naked foreign-looking man being tortured with the use of a powerful stun gun.