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POGOs and violence


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THERE is a growing trend of violence among foreigners, mainly Chinese victimizing Chinese.

Authorities have reported numerous crimes of robbery, extortion, kidnapping, rape, and prostitution, among others, instigated by Chinese against their compatriots.

The most recent and probably the worst, so far, was the shooting of a couple by their three dinner companions in a restaurant in Barangay Bel-Air, Makati City, last Thursday night.

Yin Jian Tao, 33, an information technology employee, died on the spot while his wife, Zheng Kai, 25, who also holds an online job, suffered several gunshot wounds.

The restaurant’s guard and barangay watchmen collared two of the gunmen. Police later seized guns and a bag containing P345,000. The victims met with the suspects supposedly to convert R1 million into yuan. The remainder of the money could be inside a bag held by the third man who remains at large.

Last August, the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) rescued a kidnapped mainland Chinese man from a loan shark syndicate in Pasay City.

The rescue came after a father complained to the Chinese consulate in Manila that the syndicate sent a video of his son being tortured and was told to pay a ransom of 300,000 yuan (P2.2 million).

In September last year, two Chinese tourists were kidnapped by their compatriots after losing P7.1 million at Okada casino in Paranaque.

Last December, PNP-AKG arrested six Chinese men, whose ages ranged from 21 to 32 – in their safehouse in Bacoor, Cavite a week after they reportedly snatched six foreign women in a Pasay restaurant and later raped them.

Earlier, in the same month, four Chinese men reportedly abducted Zhou Mei, an area manager of a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) firm, on Paseo de Roxas, Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati. Police said the suspects, all POGO employees, demanded a P60-million ransom from Zhou’s husband.

The PNP has recorded more than 50 cases of POGO-related violence since 2017, an undeniable proof that there is a rise in crimes involving mainland Chinese in Metro Manila, particularly in its southern cities.

The government should take a second look at POGOs and their impact on peace and order and the economy.

Are they helping the economy when many of them avoid paying taxes, and their foreign workers drive real property prices up to the detriment of locals?

How about the “pastillas” bribery at immigration, extortion, kidnapping, rape, and prostitution as consequences that go with POGO?

And I thought we are friends with Big Brother China. Why are we then undermining its efforts to crack down on cross-border gambling and cyber fraud?

POGOs ought to be banned.

Meantime, local executives should emulate Makati Mayor Abigail Binay. She halted the issuance of business permits to POGO service providers in the city.

Just recently, Over 2,000 POGO workers, who were found to have criminal records in China, have been deported. Let’s hope this is the beginning of an earnest clean-up drive against alien lawbreakers.

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