Beijing confirms crackdown on cybercrime
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese Embassy in Manila confirmed on Sunday that Beijing has begun a crackdown on Chinese nationals suspected of “committing long-term telecommunication fraud crimes abroad.”
The embassy said the crackdown on those suspected criminals were behind the report that the passports of thousands of Chinese workers in Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) may be canceled.
“In order to crackdown on cross-border telecommunication fraud crimes, the Ministry of Public Security of China has obtained a list of Chinese nationals suspected of committing long-term telecommunication fraud crimes abroad,” the Chinese Embassy said in a statement on Sunday.
“Such operations are aimed at the suspects of Chinese nationals who have committed telecommunications fraud crimes in different countries,” it added.
The Chinese Embassy said it was working closely with Philippine authorities to combat crime and protect the rights and interests of nationals of both countries.
Last year, the Chinese foreign ministry called on the Philippines last year to ban online gaming involving Chinese citizens because it is a crime in China but some Philippine officials expressed concern that such a crackdown would be bad for the economy.
But Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said the losses that the country had sustained and would continue to experience far outweigh the P12 billion that Pogos were estimated to have paid the government.
“We are not gaining anything from Pogos … while causing negative impacts in our society because of the increase in criminal incidents related to the Pogo industry,” Gatchalian told the Inquirer in a mobile phone interview.
In a Senate hearing last week, it was found that corruption in the Bureau of Immigration had increased because of the Pogo industry as well as crimes committed by Chinese Pogo workers against Chinese or Taiwanese nationals.
“If investors of Pogos came here just to evade taxes and bring in fugitives and criminals from China, what’s the use of this industry? This business is not sustainable. It’s not good for our country,” he added.
Gatchalian estimated that government should have earned at least P181 billion from Pogos based on the franchise tax they are supposed to pay the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
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