The Philippines registered 40 POGO-related crimes in 2022
POGO-related crimes were down slightly year-on-year but stilll much higher than in 2019.
The Philippines.- Philippine authorities reported 40 crimes related to Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) in 2022. That’s down from 42 in 2021 but much higher than the nine cases reported in 2019. No cases were recorded in 2017 or 2018.
According to Asia Gaming Brief, out of the 102 cases reported since 2019, only one resulted in a conviction. The incidents include reports of illegal detention, ransom, and kidnapping.
Most of the victims were from China, followed by the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar and others. A head of the police investigation unit said 299 victims have been rescued, while 16 were injured and one died.
The debate over POGOs continues. PAGCOR has defended the industry, claiming no criminal activities or kidnapping incidents have been reported in the past three months. However, senator Sherwin Gatchalian has recently shared the results of a survey by Pulse Asia that shows that 58 per cent of respondents think Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) are harmful to the nation.
The senator has said he was working on a detailed report on the outlook of online gaming in The Philippines and that a ban on POGOs won’t affect the economy. Gatchalian said that POGOs contribute PHP35bn annually in income taxes but that in the third quarter of 2022, the collection was only PHP7.2bn, projected to reach about PHP8.5bn in December.
The audit firm hired by PAGCOR to look at POGO finances is under scrutiny. Global ComRCI hired an unregistered bank to prove it had the required PHP1.3bn (US$25m) in funds to meet PAGCOR’s tender requirements and was not registered in Makati City despite having a business address in the city.