Philippine police said Wednesday that they have arrested six Chinese nationals believed to be behind a criminal syndicate and rescued eight sex workers from China and Vietnam who were forced to work for them north of the capital Manila.
Police raided the Fontana Hotel and Villas inside the Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City on Tuesday, rescuing the women and arresting the suspected members of the crime gang.
The raid was the latest operation by Philippine authorities in their bid to crack down on syndicates linked to mainland China.
“They were arrested while in the act of maintaining and offering for prostitution the rescued women,” the national police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said in a statement. “Seized during the rescue operation was marked money. The arrested persons, rescued women, and the confiscated evidence were brought to the CIDG office.”
The suspects identified as Fu Yi Nei, 26; Luo Ying, 25; Hu Yu Lin, 30; Wang Ji Yi, 30; Lui Lin Feng, 34; and Qui Shi Kai, 30; face anti-trafficking charges, the CIDG said.
This was not the first time that Chinese syndicates were known to operate in Angeles. In June, police killed two Chinese nationals with alleged links to a kidnap gang that preyed on their compatriots.
Across the nation, authorities have arrested and deported Chinese nationals following a series of raids on suspected syndicates involved in gambling and other illegal activities.
President Rodrigo Duterte has refused to ban the entry of Chinese nationals into the country despite requests from Beijing, where gambling is outlawed. The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, had forced a stop to the mass migration.
Based on government data, about 200,000 Chinese nationals work in the country, mostly in the gaming industry.
In May, police said they apprehended as many as 90 Chinese nationals suspected of working for an illegal online casino in Metro Manila.
Two months earlier, the Senate carried out an investigation into the proliferation of undocumented Chinese workers in the country amid allegations that they were being used to carry out large-scale smuggling of foreign currencies. Working through a syndicate, the Chinese nationals allegedly bypassed immigration checks and were believed to have brought U.S. $167 million into the country in 2019.
In July 2017, Philippine police arrested 43 foreign suspects, mostly Chinese nationals, who allegedly were involved in the kidnap-for-ransom of a Singaporean woman who was rescued by authorities after she was abducted from a casino in Pasay City near Manila.
Reported by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.