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Philippines Set to Expel 40,000 Chinese Workers Associated With Online Casinos

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: September 27, 2022
The Philippines is expelling 40,000 Chinese workers after the government shutdown Chinese online gambling
A general view of the Manila City of Dreams mega-casino in 2015. The Philippines is set to expel 40,000 Chinese workers associated with offshore online casinos, potentially because tax revenue has cratered. (Image: TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Philippines is taking another step towards purging the illicit influence of the notorious Chinese Communist Party after the country’s Justice Department announced it would expel 40,000 Chinese workers associated with illegal online casinos.

Spokesman Jose Dominic Clavano stated that his department had canceled the license of 175 “Philippine offshore gaming operators,” also known as POGOs, in a Sept. 26 press briefing, Bloomberg reported.

Clavano added that, based on an estimate of 200 Chinese foreign workers per POGO, close to 40,000 people are set to be arrested and deported.


Currently, 300 are in custody, he stated, adding that arrests are set to begin in October with an expected 3,000 workers being tossed.

Philippines media outlet Philstar Global stated in a Sept. 27 article that the Chinese Embassy was in no mood to challenge the Duterte Administration on the ruling, instead vowing to work with law enforcement in order to protect Chinese nationals, it said in a statement.

The article added that Clavano’s comments also accused POGOs of engaging in crimes as serious as murder and kidnapping, and also surmised that one of the root causes of their presence in the country being that gambling is illegal in mainland China.

The outlet reported in a Sept. 18 article that national law enforcement had raided one such unlicensed gaming outlet, discovering it was involved in human trafficking of Chinese nationals.

40 nationals and 200 foreign workers were found holed up in a nearby hotel lacking their documentation or passports, police discovered during a raid.

Earlier in September, an anti-kidnapping group for the Philippines National Police stated in a report that POGO-related kidnapping cases were up 25 percent year over year, the Philippine Star reported.

However, in the nuts and bolts of the report, the number had increased to 15 from 12.

One article by the Philippine Inquirer stated that perhaps the government’s pushback against POGOs was linked to declining tax revenue. In 2019, such entities paid 7.18 billion pesos ($121.6 million~), which fell to 3.91 billion ($66.28 million~) in 2021.

And although 2022’s tax revenue was set to explode to 32 billion pesos ($532 million~), only 3 billion pesos have been collected, the country’s Finance Secretary revealed.

The article added that Ka Kuen Chua, President of the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order, described as a Chinese-Filipino group, claimed that Chinese President Xi Jinping asked President Duterte in 2019 to outlaw POGOs as they circumvented the mainland’s anti-gambling law.

According to Chua, Duterte declined, citing the influx of tax revenue.

In a Sept. 26 wire article by the Philippine Daily Inquirer one domestic property consultant firm warned that the country stood to lose 200 billion pesos ($3.38 billion~) “from office and residential rentals, income taxes, electricity bills, employees’ wages and regulatory revenues, among others” once POGOs are punted.

Close to 15 percent of this figure, however, came from factoring in the cost of residential property rentals for workers, which may be a spurious claim in light of the Chinese operators’ propensity for human trafficking.