POGO kidnappings: Cops finger operator with alleged links to Michael Yang

·Contributor
·2 min read
Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on Thursday (September 15) begins its investigation into the spate of kidnappings among Chinese POGO workers. (Photo: Getty Images)
Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on Thursday (September 15) begins its investigation into the spate of kidnappings among Chinese POGO workers. (Photo: Getty Images)

A Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) with alleged links to Michael Yang, former President Rodrigo Duterte’s ex-economic adviser, is among those involved in a spate of kidnapping incidents, said police officials on Thursday (September 15).

Speaking at a hearing by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Group chief Col. Rodolfo Castil Jr., said the Cavite-based Xionwei Technology Co. Ltd. was allegedly linked to five kidnapping incidents from January to September 2022.

He added that the police rescued five individuals linked to LY Ground Admin Pogo Company based in Cavite, and Lucky South 99 Outsourcing Inc., based in Pampanga.

"Once they hear about their employee’s plan to switch jobs, they will hold them and they will demand the costs they paid for the worker from their family in China," said Castil, as reported by Philstar.com.

Castil noted that POGOs also threaten workers and their families in China if they are seen as having accepted an offer from another company with a better deal.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) confirmed three companies mentioned by Castil as having licenses to operate in the country. Diane Erica Jogno, Pagcor’s assistant vice president, said that they will cancel the licenses of these companies, even as she confirmed with Poe that POGOs add P6 billion to the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, Senators Ramon Revilla and Grace Poe said the revenues generated by these companies can no longer justify their actions, condemning the "seeming lawlessness pervading the industry" and the lack of respect of these companies for the laws of the Philippines.

"The Chinese government does not condone POGO operations," noted Ko Beng Sum, a member of the executive committee of the Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PCCCII).

"So whoever is working with the POGO or employees, if they are abducted or kidnapped by anybody else, they would not want to go to the authorities, immediately they will be deported to China," Ko added.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.