23 POGO workers plead not guilty in securities violation case

This case involves the Pasay POGO hub which had its certification revoked in August.
This case involves the Pasay POGO hub which had its certification revoked in August.

The 23 workers were arrested during a raid on a Pasay City POGO hub.

The Philippines.- 23 people arrested during a raid on a Pasay City online gaming hub have pleaded not guilty to charges of alleged unlawful securities trading in violation of section 28.1 of the Securities Regulation Code (Republic Act 8799). The section prohibits participation in the buying or selling of securities in the Philippines without proper registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Those charged were among the 28 foreigners accused of involvement in online scams. The POGO hub in Pasay City, which had held a licence from PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) for online gambling, had its licence revoked after the raid as it was found to be conducting illegal activities.

Pre-trial proceedings are scheduled for September 6th. A separate complaint for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act against the 28 POGO workers remains pending.

The remaining five people arrested requested a deferral of their arraignment to secure interpreters accredited by the Office of the Court Administrator. Among the accused are people from China, Myanmar, and Malaysia. They are detained at a facility managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Bicutan. One has gone missing, and The Department of Justice has initiated a manhunt. The court has issued a show cause order to the relevant agencies.

Meanwhile, PAGCOR initiated legal proceedings against 33 offshore gaming licensees for non-payment of dues totalling PHP2.02bn (US$39.9m). 

Among the 33 operators, two received billing notifications in May 2023, while two were referred to PAGCOR’s Legal Group in February 2023. Five operators have since ceased operations, but Tengco said legal action will still be pursued.

See also: Philippines police find 28,000 SIM cards in POGO raid

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