The Bureau of Immigration has excluded 202 foreigners, mostly Chinese, who attempted to enter the country to work in online casinos, while some are suspected to be sex workers, from Feb. 24 to Feb. 28.
This was after Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente suspended all NAIA terminal heads and supervisors due to the alleged “pastillas” scheme.
BI-Intelligence Division Chief Fortunato Manahan Jr. said that 87 foreigners were excluded at the NAIA terminal 1; 22 foreigners at the NAIA Terminal 2 and 93 foreigners at the NAIA terminal 3.
Apart from Chinese, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Myanmar, and Malaysians were also denied entry.
The wave of online casino workers trying to enter the Philippines was due to the threat of the Chinese Ministry of Public Safety to cancel the passports of thousands of Chinese nationals working in online gaming dens in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia.
Thousands of Chinese nationals working in POGOs or Philippine offshore gaming operators were at risk of having their passports canceled over their suspected involvement in illegal activities.
Last year, Cambodia banned online gambling, prompting hundreds of Chinese to come to the Philippines.
The Illegal online gambling industry had been used by foreign criminals to extort money, according to Manahan.
He said some foreign criminals have taken refuge in the form of this gambling to cheat and extort money from victims, domestic and abroad, which affect the security, public order and social order of the Philippines.
Following the exposure of the alleged scam at the NAIA, Morente implemented a total revamp of all BI personnel at the country’s premier airport, and placed the Border Control and Investigation Unit (BCIU) and Travel Control and Enforcement (TCEU) under the BI-Intelligence Division headed by Jun Manahan.
The BI Intelligence chief said the agency will coordinate with the Chinese embassy in Manila in terms of tracking down particular cases and criminals of their citizens in the country.