Philippines immigration authorities have begun the process of deporting more than 1,300 Chinese nationals arrested during a crackdown on illegal gambling operations.

The Chinese were working for casino magnate Jack Lam when the arrests occurred.  Lam, who has been targeted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as part of his war on online gambling, escaped the country and has been on the lam for nearly a month.

According to a report on CalvinAyre.com, approximately 259 of the 1,316 who were initially arrested in the raid on Lam’s call center have already been sent home. Authorities have promised to send the remaining workers home, “as soon as possible.”

Most of the workers involved in the incident were charged with overstaying tourist visas and working for an illegal gambling enterprise.

Philippine law enforcement appears to be taking it easy on the workers, but is still gunning for Lam’s incarceration. President Duterte has also made public his opinion that Lam not only ran an illegal gambling operation, but also that he attempted to bribe immigration officials.

Arresting Lam will likely be difficult as he is a very well-connected player in the international casino industry with very deep pockets.

A small number of the arrested Chinese, about 40, have claimed that they were mislead about the nature of the work they’d be doing when they arrived in the Philippines. They claim that they were led to be believe that they’d be working in a call center, but did not know that they would be working for an online casino.

Philippine immigration authorities have stated that they only holdup in returning the rest of the Chinese to their homes has been difficulty in obtaining plane tickets for them.

 


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