Suspected Chinese military uniforms found in Porac POGO

Joann Manabat

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Suspected Chinese military uniforms found in Porac POGO

MILITARY UNIFORMS. Authorities find suspected Chinese military uniforms at a POGO site in Porac, Pampanga on June 10, 2024.

Photos courtesy of PAOCC

PAOCC spokesperson Winston Casio says this is the first time they found alleged Chinese military uniforms, which will be validated with Chinese authorities

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Authorities discovered alleged Chinese military uniforms that bore designs associated with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as well as the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (CAPF) in the illegal Philippine offshore gaming operation (POGO) Lucky South 99 Outsourcing Incorporated in Porac, Pampanga.

Suspected Chinese military uniforms found in Porac POGO

At least six sets of uniforms with symbols and distinguishing marks of the PLA and CAPF, and two combat boots, were among the items found as authorities resumed their search operations in the 10-hectare property known as Thai Court in Sitio Pulung Maba, Barangay Sta. Cruz, on Monday, June 10.

SYMBOLS. Enlarged photos of distinguishing marks indicating alleged uniforms of the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force. Photos courtesy of PAOCC

According to the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), the sets of uniforms indicate possible Chinese military veterans or military personnel conducting third-party activities inside Lucky South 99. 

“It would mean you have Chinese military veterans, PLA veterans inside Lucky South 99. That’s the most benign explanation. But the most extreme explanation there could be that there are indeed military personnel conducting whatever third-party activities inside Lucky South 99,” PAOCC spokesperson Winston Casio told Rappler in an interview on Tuesday, June 11.

Casio said this is the first time they found such Chinese military uniforms. However, he said this would still have to be validated by Chinese authorities.

“We have to validate and talk to our Chinese counterparts with regards to this. It would be the military counterparts who would need to talk to the Chinese government (about) this particular scam hub,” he said.

Casio said Lucky South 99 is so far the worst and most prolific among online gaming operators in terms of kidnapping, harassment, torture, and other crimes.

SEIZED. Other items found include handcuffs, pellet guns, baseball bats, electric rods, identification cards, illegal drugs, cash, jewelries and Rolex watches, as well as scam paraphernalia. Photos courtesy of PAOCC

Other items found in the search operations include handcuffs, pellet guns, baseball bats, electric rods, identification cards, suspected methamphetamine or shabu, cash, jewelries and Rolex watches, vaults, as well as scam paraphernalia, including a number of smart phones and SIM cards. They will be labeled as pieces of evidence while a separate warrant for the opening of the vaults is pending, said Casio.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has identified alien crime syndicates, not the legitimate and licensed POGOs, as a significant national security threat.

PAGCOR chair and CEO Alejandro Tengco said alien hacking and scam syndicates (AHASS) pose a real threat. 

This, despite reports of human trafficking, torture, and illegal detention in several raided Internet Gaming Licensees (IGLs) such as Smart Web Technology Corporation in Pasay City and Zun Yuan Technology Incorporated in Bamban, Tarlac.

“To us, the real threat are the AHASS who operate underground, and they are the ones that our law enforcement agencies are trying to locate and dismantle,” Tengco said. “We do not need to outlaw POGOs. What we need to do is intensify anti-crime operations against suspected alien hackers, against scammers and cyber-criminals who are usually hiding in highly secured buildings and compounds.”

“We should not blame and demonize our licensed gaming operators because these are closely monitored by PAGCOR. Our licensees pay taxes, and they help provide legitimate jobs and livelihood to a lot of people,” he added.

PAGCOR, in a letter dated May 22 – two months after the raid at the Baofu compound in Bamban, Tarlac – denied the application of Lucky South 99 for an Internet Gaming License due to negative reports linking the establishment to alleged illegal activities in 2022 and its association with Zun Yuan. The letter was issued to its authorized representative Katherine Cassandra L. Ong.

“During the Senate hearing on May 7, conducted before the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, it was found that numerous companies including Lucky South are involved in illegal operations in Zun Yuan Technology Inc.’s premises in Baofu Compound, Bamban, Tarlac as evidenced by papers and documents found by the authorities in the site,” PAGCOR’s letter said.

In September 2022, Lucky South 99 was ordered shut down following the raid led by Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos where more than 40 Chinese were reportedly kidnapped. 

No permit
Porac Mayor Jaime “Jing” Capil. Photo from Porac Public Information Office Facebook

Meantime, Porac Mayor Jaime Capil said that Lucky South 99 did not receive a mayor’s permit renewal from his office in 2024. It is listed as one of the establishments on the Bureau of Fire Protection’s “negative list” due to its failure to comply with mandatory requirements. 

Capil also mentioned that he ordered an “investigation initiated by its office prior to an inspection” which concerns local licenses and those required by PAGCOR.

“There is, in fact, an ongoing investigation, on the basis of a prior inspection that the mayor himself ordered at, or about the time of the rescue operation, by reason of local licenses and that required by PAGCOR,” Capil said in his statement released to the media on Monday.

Despite this, 40 buildings in the complex were issued corresponding building permits.

A letter of no objection (LONO) was also issued by the Sangguniang Bayan of Porac to Lucky South 99 through its representative Ong, on November 5, 2019 during its regular session which was held at the function room of Fortune Seafood Restaurant in Clark Freeport.

Rappler reached out to Capil to clarify his statement. We will update this story once we receive his response.

A total of 158 foreign nationals and 29 Filipinos have been rescued since Tuesday night, June 4. The search operation will continue until all buildings have been combed through. – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!