Emmanuel Tupas – The Philippine Star
July 2, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Police raided yesterday other buildings in a Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) hub in Las Piñas City where over 2,700 Filipinos and foreigners suspected to be victims of human trafficking were rescued last week.
Armed with two search warrants and five warrants to search and seize computer data, at least 299 operatives of the Anti-Cybercrime Group and National Capital Region Police Office searched seven buildings of Xinhuang Network Technologies along Alabang-Zapote Road in Barangay Almanza Uno.
The foreigners rescued last week were 687 Chinese, 186 Vietnamese, 140 Indonesians, 135 Malaysians, 83 Thais, 18 Taiwanese, eight Nigerians, five Singaporeans, eight Burmese, two Yemenis, two Pakistanis, two Chad citizens, one Ivorian, one Tunisian, one Arab, one Indian, one Somali, one Sudanese, one Cameroonian national and one Iranian.
Their Filipino counterparts were released after being processed.
Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan, the chief publicist of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the reason for the search is to get the personal profiles of the remaining 1,284 foreigners who were among those rescued and still remaining in the compound.
“We would like also to clarify that these rescued victims are being processed to get their personal profiles, travel history and status for documentation purposes prior to turn over to their respective embassies,” he said in a statement.
Maranan said the Las Piñas court issued the warrants after examining the complainants and witnesses through a personal searching inquiry.
Lawyer Ananias Christian Vargas of Vargas Law, which represents Xinchuang, earlier warned that the firm would file criminal, administrative and civil cases against the PNP if it will not allow those rescued to leave the compound.
Vargas alleged that police officers questioned the foreigners without the assistance of a lawyer and physically abused eight of the foreigners.
In response to the allegations, Maranan said the PNP put up a human rights affairs desk to ensure that the rescued victims’ rights are respected.