Police guard Fontana casino after shutdown

Jun A. Malig

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Police guard Fontana casino after shutdown
Policemen have been posted at the casino 'to ensure that no casino gambling operation will continue and that possible evidence shall not be concealed, destroyed or taken out,' says the CIDG-Region 3 chief

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Police have been posted at the gaming area of the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Clark Freeport in Angeles City, after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) ordered its temporary closure.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 3 and Angeles City policemen assisted PAGCOR officials in closing down Fontana’s casino on Saturday night, December 4, Senior Superintendent Edwin Quilates, acting CIDG-3 director said in a report.

The casino has a main room and about 15 game rooms.

Quilates said PAGCOR officials – vice president for corporate and legal services Roderick Consolacion, and Lino Calingasan, vice president for security – led the operation.

“This pertains to the instruction of the President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, to the chairperson, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and all law enforcement agencies to coordinate and cause the immediate closure and temporary cessation of operation of the Fontana Leisure Park and Casino at the Clark Freeport, Pampanga,” Quilates said in a report to acting CIDG director Chief Superintendent Roel Obusan.

Quilates said Fontana personnel cooperated with authorities and that Angeles City police have been posted at the casino “to ensure that no casino gambling operation will continue and that possible evidence shall not be concealed, destroyed or taken out.”

The casino was shut down following the arrest of 1,240 illegal Chinese workers inside the leisure park in a Bureau of Immigration operation assisted by 200 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force on November 24. (READ: Philippines detains hundreds of Chinese in casino raid)

The operation was prompted by reports that the casino employed undocumented Chinese nationals.

Some 26 of the Chinese nationals fled the holding facility at the Fontana Convention Center located across the leisure park and have yet to be accounted for.

A few days after the arrest of the Chinese nationals, gambling tycoon Jack Lam, chairman of the Jimei International Entertainment Group which operates Fontana, met with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre supposedly to assure the Philippine official that he was “engaged solely in legal activities in Fontana.”

Aguirre initially accused Lam of attempting to bribe him during that meeting, but later clarified that there was no “over act of bribery” to warrant any legal action against him.

On December 3, however, President Rodrigo Duterte himself ordered Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to arrest Lam for alleged “bribery and economic sabotage” – even without any pending criminal charges against him. Following Duterte’s order, Aguirre said that Lam can be arrested even without a warrant considering the “gravity” of his alleged crime.

Lam’s businesses include real estate development and hotel and resort operations. He also has securities and investments in Hong Kong, China, and the Philippines.(READ: Macau’s top gambling tycoon: Who is Jack Lam?– Rappler.com


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