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Philppines Aims Anti-Gambling Efforts on Chinese-Run Gaming Sites

The government of the Philippines has added international-facing gambling sites to its increasingly aggressive war on gambling. The latest twist in this battle involves busting Chinese nationals accused of running illegal, Chinese-facing online gambling sites.

According to a report on, the raid took place late last week when agents working for the Philippines Bureau of Immigration acted on a tip that illegal gambling was taking place in a building in the the Clark Freeport Zone. Though agents weren’t specific about what the tipster told them, they suggested that some sort of “cyber crime” was taking place in a building in the area.

After weeks of in-depth surveillance, Bureau of Immigration agents stormed the building and took at least 154 Chinese nationals into custody. According to published reports, many of the Chinese were in the country on expired tourist visas. At least eight of the people taken into custody were minors.

Details on the alleged activities of the Chinese group were slim but, in the recent past, Chinese nationals having been busted in the Philippines for running rigged online gambling sites that targeted Cambodian players.

The Clark Freeport Zone raid was just latest in a series of moves by the increasingly authoritarian rule of recently elected Philippines President Robert Duterte. President Duterte has directed the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to revoke the gaming licenses of dozens of gaming operators who hadn’t, it seems, violated Philippines’ gaming laws.

Duterte is also the mastermind of a massive, and often extrajudicial, effort to rid his country of suspected drug dealers and drug users. As of this writing, more than 1,500 people have died as a result of the campaign.

The Chinese nationals captured in last week’s raid are being held pending deportation hearings.