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Pagcor defends POGOs after raid unearths torture evidence

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After the recent high-profile raid on an illegal POGO gambling operation, the chief of the Philippine gambling regulator defended his country’s offshore gambling industry.

Alejandro H Tengco, the chairman and CEO of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, said that alien hackers and scam groups, not legitimate POGOs are the true threat to national safety.

Pagcor chief says that legitimate POGO business, licensed by Pagcor and contributing more than PHP5bn (EUR79m/85m/PS66m), will contribute to gross revenue of the regulator in 2023.

Tengco was speaking after the raid on a POGO plant in Porac where over 100 illegal workers had been discovered. According to the Presidential Anti-Organised Crime Commission, many of the illegal workers were victims of human rights abuses and torture.

Tengco said, “To us the real threat is the foreign hacking and scamming syndicates that operate underground. Our law enforcement agencies try to find and demolish them.” We are fully cooperating with authorities on this issue.

Pagcor defends POGO record

Pagcor has defended the record it maintains in terms of monitoring operations licensed by them. Tengco has said that it embeds monitoring teams at the venues where licensed gambling operators operate, such as land-based casino, in order to verify compliance with their license terms. He said that violators of the terms of their licenses could face penalties, fines and even the loss of the licence.

POGOs do not have to be banned. Tengco stated that we should intensify our anti-crime efforts against alien hackers suspected of being scammers, cybercriminals and other criminals who usually hide in high-security buildings or compounds.

These criminal syndicates do not engage in any offshore gaming and, if they do, it is illegal.

They are the true threat, and we need to go after them using everything we’ve got.

The latest POGO raid

Porac was not the first POGO facility to be raided. According to reports, the Lucky South 99 Complex was raided and seized PHP600,000.00 in cash, jewelry, and drugs.

POGO is a controversial sector in the Philippines. Claims that it controls politicians and judges have sparked controversy. The raid last week was postponed for several days when a judge revoked a search warrant. Some claim that the illegal POGO operation was notified in advance. Authorities had expected more than 1,000 employees to be located.

The police conducted a raid on the CGC Technologies offices in May 2023. The company is charged with several serious crimes, including fraud on credit cards and human trafficking.

A number of state-run agencies have joined forces with the Clark Security Advisory Council in June 2023 to combat illicit activity.

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