China’s embassy in the Philippines says China has so far this year helped its neighbour to “crack down on cross-border gambling, telecommunications and online fraud,” with “tangible results”.
This included disrupting “three illegal offshore gambling parks,” and “promptly repatriating nearly 400 Chinese citizens back to China after identity verification” so far this year.
Wednesday’s statement was issued in Chinese and English. The embassy also urged the Philippine authorities to take “strong measures” to “crack down on crimes related to POGOs”. That was a reference to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, a category of service provider licensed by the Philippines, but where entities within the sector have been accused of facilitating general criminal activity and tax evasion.
The embassy did not clarify what it meant by “offshore gambling parks”. But the statement mentioned law enforcement authorities from China and the Philippines had in recent years cooperated in gambling-related investigations.
In the statement, the Chinese embassy in Manila noted: “Crimes induced by online gambling harm not only China’s interests and China-Philippines relations, but also the interests of the Philippines. It was discovered during the law enforcement cooperation that some illegal offshore gaming employees abused Philippine judicial procedures by fabricating cases in the Philippines to avoid repatriation.”
The embassy added: “China is willing to further cooperate with the Philippines in dealing with such situations to ensure laws are enforced and justice served. Meanwhile China calls on the Philippines to take strong measures to crack down on crimes related to POGOs and root out the social ills in a sweeping manner.”
It further stated: “The Chinese government has always firmly opposed and cracked down on all forms of gambling. According to Chinese laws, any form of gambling, including online gambling and overseas gambling by Chinese citizens, is illegal.”
A number of government departments in mainland China has, in recent years, issued statements on dealing with citizens travelling overseas for casino play, or having involvement in betting. China’s amended criminal code outlaws anyone assisting others in such activity. It came into effect from March 1, 2021.
China has a number of bilateral agreements with Southeast Asian nations and has a pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) a regional club of countries, to boost cooperation in combatting cross-border activities including online gambling services targeting Chinese citizens.
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