Philippines: Illegal gambling operation busted inside immigration jail

Philippines: Illegal gambling operation was operating from jail

Even getting locked up in jail doesn’t stop illegal online operators. Philippines immigration operatives suspected that might be the case, and launched a surprise raid on a Bureau of Immigration (BI) jail in Taguig, one of the cities that make up the Metropolitan Manila region, reports local outlet Manila Standard.

Philippines: Illegal gambling operation was operating from jailThey found what they were looking for, too. Several Chinese nationals, who were previously arrested for operating illegal gambling dens in the region, had over PHP130,000 ($2,480) in cash, credit cards, checks, laptops, computer monitors, routers and cellphones, according to the news outlet. They were using these devices to continue running secret online gambling operations directly from jail.

The raid comes after two months of surveillance of the BI Warden Facility. During that time, investigators confirmed the illegal operations were happening inside the prisoner’s cell.

The raid was also looking for illegal drugs, with the assistance of K9 units, but found none. The cash was found stuffed inside pillows, and the devices were neatly hidden underneath blankets and clothes.

The gadgets will still be analyzed to figure out more information on the prisoners illegal activities. The BI will also be looking into how they were able to smuggle in so many illicit items. It’s unclear at this time if the prisoners will face additional charges, or if the guards who allowed this to happen for months will face any charges.

The Philippines is starting to struggle with their immense problem of undocumented Chinese workers in the online gambling industry. A recent report indicated that there are at least 56,180 Chinese workers in the industry, many of whom are suspected to be evading their taxes. That also only covers legally licensed Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), and does not count black market operators, who often work out of small apartments.

It appears to be a problem that will be incredibly difficult to solve. President Rodrigo Duterte has already instructed his agencies not to be too harsh on undocumented Chinese workers, for fear of reprisals from the Chinese government. That directive, combined with the apparent corruption in the Philippines penal system, means that even if the operations are raided, they still aren’t necessarily finished.