China calls on Philippines to ban online gambling

21 August 2019

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has called on the Philippines to ban all forms of online gaming after the Southeast Asian country confirmed this week that it had joined Cambodia in halting the award of new licences.

In his regular press conference, Geng said that China “appreciates” the steps taken by Cambodia and the Philippines in recent days.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has suspended the award of licences to offshore operators (POGOs) until at least the end of 2019 due to concerns about illegal operations and security.

Meanwhile the Cambodian Government has also ceased awarding new online gambling licences with immediate effect in an effort to clamp down on illegal gambling activities.

After a Chinese embassy spokesperson in the Philippines accused PAGCOR of issuing licences to operators that illegally target Chinese nationals earlier this month, Geng said at his press conference: “We note the Philippine government's announcement and appreciate it.

“We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling. We hope it will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities including online gambling and cyber fraud.

“This will help create an enabling environment for our bilateral relations and peace and stability in the region.”

On Cambodia, Geng added: “As is well known, online gambling is a most dangerous tumour in modern society, detested by people all across the world. It is a shared hope that this problem could be effectively dealt with.

“China highly appreciates Cambodia's decision to ban online gambling. We believe it will help protect both Cambodian and Chinese people's interests. It will also strengthen our law enforcement cooperation and friendly relations.

“This year is the year of law enforcement cooperation between China and Cambodia. China stands ready to work with Cambodia to take effective measures to deepen law enforcement and security cooperation to the benefit of our peoples.”

The Chinese embassy spokesperson’s statement earlier this month warned the Philippines to adopt “concrete and effective measures to prevent and punish the Philippine casinos, POGOs and other forms of gambling entities for their illegal employment of Chinese citizens and crack down related crimes that hurt the Chinese citizens”.

The spokesperson claimed that whilst illegal gambling had resulted in an increase in crime and social problems in China, some of the country’s nationals had been lured to work illegally in casinos in the Philippines.

“They are confined to live and work in certain designated places and some of them have been subjected to extortion, physical abuse and torture as well as other ill-treatments,” the spokesperson added.

“At the same time, dozens of kidnappings and tortured cases of Chinese citizens who gamble or work illegally in gambling entities in the Philippines have taken place. Some Chinese citizens were physically tortured, injured or even murdered.”