Casino Junket Operator Flees Philippines After Duterte-Issued Arrest Order
Sources in the Philippine Government allege that Lam attempted to bribe Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chairperson Andrea Domingo during a November 26 meeting. Police are also seeking professional poker player Wally “The Dream” Sombero in connection with the case, according to a report in The Standard.
According to Aguirre’s account of the meeting, Lam offered the cash in an effort to hasten the release of more than 1,000 Chinese nationals who were arrested in the Philippines for their role in an illegal gambling operation. In Aguirre’s version of the story, Lam allegedly offered him a one percent stake in his operation if he would allow it to continue operation while Lam applied for a gaming license.
The Chinese nationals, who are still being held by Philippine authorities, were mostly accused of overstaying tourist visas in order to work in a call center supporting a large, semi-legal, gambling ring.
News of the alleged bribery attempt enraged President Duterte who ordered that Lam be brought up on charges of economic sabotage for his role in the call-center operation. Shortly after Duterte issued the order, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald dela Rosa jumped into action, saying:
I am giving orders to all [Philippine National Police] units to arrest [Jack Lam] immediately as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte for the case of bribery and economic sabotage.
In a statement issued through his lawyer, Lam denied all charges of wrongdoing. It’s also worth noting that while an arrest order has been given, no formal charges or official arrest warrants have been issued for Lam.