China cracks down on nationals committing fraud abroad: embassy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2020 03:36 PM

Phil-Asian Gaming Expo features offshore games targetting bettors outside the Philippines. Games can be played on desktop or mobile devices. Photo taken at the SMX Convention Center. July 12, 2019. Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - China has identified its citizens suspected of committing telecommunication fraud abroad, Beijing's Embassy in Manila said Sunday amid reports it has supposedly cancelled passports of its nationals working in Philippine offshore gaming operators.

"In order to crack down on cross-border telecommunication fraud crimes, the Ministry of Public Security of China has obtained a list of Chinese nationals suspected of committing long-term telecommunication fraud crimes abroad," the embassy said.

China "always requires" its citizens abroad to "abide by local laws and not to work illegally in foreign countries," it added, noting it "has been keeping close communications with the Philippine government in this regard."

Thousands of Chinese nationals work in the POGO industry in light of the illegality of online gaming in China.

The influx of Chinese workers, however, brought about such problems as tax violations, kidnapping, prostitution, and more recently, bribery allegedly involving Philippine immigration personnel.

According to the embassy, relevant Philippine and Chinese agencies have cooperated on law enforcement activities.

"The Chinese side would like to continue to work closely with the Philippines to combat such crimes as telecommunications fraud, illegal online-gambling, money-laundering, illegal employment, kidnapping, extortion, murder, etc., so as to effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of nationals of the two countries, and to promote the China-Philippines friendship and cooperation," the embassy said.

Last week, Philippine Sen. Risa Hontiveros exposed the so-called "pastillas" bribery scheme, wherein a Chinese national who enters the country as a tourist pays P10,000 grease money to work in POGOs.

The money is divided among immigration personnel and Chinese and Filipino travel agencies.