It is “disturbing” that Chinese syndicates have expanded their activities in the Philippines to include the illegal recruitment of their countrymen, anti-crime advocate Teresita Ang-See said Saturday.
“It’s not just the people who owe debts to casinos anymore, it’s now expanding,” said Ang-See, founder of the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order, in a radio interview aired on GMA News TV.
“Their employees are now the ones who are being enticed under false pretenses, like our OFWs [overseas Filipino workers] who are victims of illegal recruitment,” she added.
Chinese workers were being offered information technology jobs with eight hours of work daily and salaries of P50,000 a month, but would end up working in Philippine Online Gaming Operations (POGOs), Ang-See said.
“They entice especially those (who live) in the provinces, saying: ‘You don’t need a sophisticated education, as long as you can speak and type in Chinese.’ They promise a lot of things,” she said.
The Chinese who want to quit after being recruited are then badly tortured or beaten, Ang-See added.
Syndicates target not only Chinese employees but also legitimate businessmen, who are abducted upon their exit from immigration gates, taken into a van, then brought into a safe house for ransom negotiations, she said.
On Monday, a Chinese woman was forcibly taken into a vehicle and allegedly abducted in Makati City. The incident was caught on video and has since gone viral on social media.
The woman’s husband was considered a person of interest in the case, and after he gave his testimony to authorities, police deemed his answers “inconsistent” and said a “personal grudge” may have been the motive behind her abduction.
Ang-See said their movement learned of six cases of Chinese businessmen getting abducted in October or November. She said it is “shocking” that ransom payments were made involving hundreds of millions of pesos.
Police Lt. Col. Joel Saliba, spokesman of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group, said they have yet to confirm whether the Chinese syndicates were those from Cambodia who fled to the Philippines following a crackdown on criminals there.