'Ban all online gambling,' China urges Philippines

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 21 2019 10:37 AM

MANILA -- China said the Philippines should "ban all online gambling" as it welcomed Manila's suspension of new applications for offshore gaming firms.

Offshore gaming is "the most dangerous tumor in modern society," China's foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said a press conference Tuesday, based on an official transcript.

"We have also taken note of the Philippine government's announcement and appreciates it. We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling," Geng said.

"We hope it will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities including online gambling and cyber fraud. This will help create an enabling environment for the development of bilateral relations and peace and stability in the region," he said.

The Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp on Monday suspended acceptance of applications for new POGOs or Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations, saying some concerns needed to be addressed.

China earlier appealed to the Philippine government to "punish" firms that are illegally recruiting its nationals, whom it said were victims of extortion, kidnapping and torture.

At least 58 offshore gaming firms have licenses to operate in the Philippines. Some 138,000 foreign nationals are working in POGOs according to the inter-agency's estimate released last April.

Some 12,000 foreign nationals were also found illegally working for POGOs, the inter-agency earlier said.