Philippines arrests 277 Chinese accused of investment scam

There has been a rise in anti-Chinese sentiment in the Philippines, particularly the increase in the number of Chinese workers. (AFP)
Updated 13 September 2019

Philippines arrests 277 Chinese accused of investment scam

  • The Chinese government canceled the passports of those arrested, making them illegal workers in the Philippines
  • They would be charged and detained in an immigration jail prior to deportation

MANILA, Philippines: Philippine immigration agents have arrested 277 Chinese in a raid against an online investment scam syndicate that defrauded hundreds of people, officials said Friday.
The arrests Wednesday in the Ortigas financial district in Pasig city in the Manila metropolis came after the Chinese Embassy provided information about the fraud, which has victimized more than 1,000 Chinese, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said.
Morente said he initially ordered the arrest of four Chinese but authorities caught 273 other suspects “in the act of conducting illegal online operations.”
The Chinese government canceled the passports of those arrested, making them illegal workers in the Philippines. They would be charged and detained in an immigration jail prior to deportation, the immigration bureau said.
“Their presence in the country is a risk to public security,” Morente said. “These fugitives will be hunted, deported, and will be blacklisted, effectively banning them from reentering the country.”
China has been cracking down on crimes by its citizens in Asian countries, including in the Philippines, where tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have traveled to work in online gambling outfits, which are illegal in China.
Last month, the Chinese Embassy said many Chinese have been illegally recruited to work in the gambling industry in the Philippines, often without work permits. The online gambling and gaming outfits cater to mostly Chinese clients in mainland China.
The embassy said Chinese money was flowing illegally into the Philippines involving crimes such as money laundering and that many Chinese recruited to work in online gambling outfits were mistreated, with their passports seized, confinement and physical abuse.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has stopped issuing licenses to offshore gambling outfits while contracts and security and legal issues are reviewed. The gambling regulator said the Philippine government has collected nearly 12 billion pesos ($235 million) in revenues from those gaming and gambling outfits from 2016 to last year alone.


Sanders set for ‘vigorous’ campaign return after heart scare

Updated 59 min 47 sec ago

Sanders set for ‘vigorous’ campaign return after heart scare

  • Less than three weeks after suffering a heart attack, the Democratic presidential contender is beginning what he’s calling a “vigorous” return to campaigning
  • Sanders suddenly finds himself looking up at progressive rival Elizabeth Warren and establishment favorite Joe Biden in the polls

NEW YORK: Bernie Sanders isn’t going anywhere.
Less than three weeks after suffering a heart attack, the Democratic presidential contender is beginning what he’s calling a “vigorous” return to campaigning with a rally expected to draw thousands of supporters to New York City on Saturday afternoon. One of them will be Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders’ latest high-profile endorsement, who will share the stage with Sanders this weekend and give his stagnant White House bid an instant dose of energy.
The event marks a coming-out party of sorts for the 78-year-old Vermont senator. He had emergency heart surgery this month but insists that he’s more committed than ever to his 2020 White House bid. With the first voting contests less than four months away, he has some work to do.
Beyond health concerns, Sanders suddenly finds himself looking up at progressive rival Elizabeth Warren and establishment favorite Joe Biden in the polls. Now he must reassure voters that he has the physical stamina to go forward while addressing broader concerns that his policies may be too far left to defeat President Donald Trump in a general election.
Enter Ocasio-Cortez.
The endorsement from the 30-year-old progressive star “send the message that the movement is growing, that it’s gaining influence, that it’s gaining traction,” Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir said.
He predicted that the newly announced support from Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, who will not be present Saturday, would help Sanders generate significantly more support from young people and minorities going forward.
“Those are two people who I think have immense power to mobilize young people, and I promise you you’ll be seeing them in Iowa, but not only in Iowa, but around the country, trying to get people engaged around the issues,” Shakir said.
For now, at least, Sanders can use the help.
While he pledged during this week’s presidential debate to move forward with a “vigorous” campaign, he’s moving cautiously in the short term. The rally in Queens is his only scheduled appearance before he returns to Iowa late next week.
The week after, he’ll join Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, for a tour of her congressional district. Tlaib hasn’t announced whether she’ll join Ocasio-Cortez and Omar in endorsing Sanders, but she is also part of the so-called “Squad” of minority women on Capitol Hill who has been frequent targets of Trump’s attacks.
Despite aggressive rhetoric from Sanders himself, senior adviser Jeff Weaver said Sanders would ease himself back onto the campaign trail. But by December, Weaver predicted, Sanders’ health scare will be forgotten.