PNP rescues dozens of POGO workers in 2-day sting

Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2022 05:56 PM

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said they raided safehouses connected to Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) companies to rescue workers allegedly being held against their will.

In a press conference, PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management Director Maj. Gen Eliseo Cruz said that a police operation in Parañaque City yielded more than 20 workers from Myanmar and six from China, who were allegedly being forced to work as online scammers.

Cruz said the information came from Myanmar authorities when one of the victims contacted his family asking for money to buy his freedom.

"These workers were recruited in Dubai. They were promised jobs as customer service representatives but ended up being put to work as online scammers," Cruz said.

Cruz added the workers weren't allowed to go out or even resign from their jobs, and were passed around from facility to facility.

"They were not paid for months, and when they said they wanted to leave they were being made to pay hundreds of thousands of pesos for their freedom," Cruz said.

The DIDM and PNP Intelligence Group are conducting pursuit operations against the perpetrators, who managed to escape the police raid.

Meanwhile, in a joint rescue operation, a Malaysian and 33 other foreigners working at a POGO company located in Muntinlupa City were rescued on Wednesday.

One Chinese was also arrested during the operation. 

According to one victim, his employer withheld his salary, deprived him of his liberty and did not allow him to go outside of the building.

He added that the suspect repeatedly threatened the him if he will report to the authorities.

"Concerned about his situation the victim called his mother from Malaysia saying he is in imminent danger. The mother of the victim later then informed Malaysian authorities who coordinated with the operating units," the SPD said.

The said company was not able to present a business permit.

The suspect is facing complaint for serious illegal detention.