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November 29, 2016

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Concern in China over 1,200 arrests in Philippines

CHINA is concerned over the detention of more than 1,000 Chinese nationals in the Philippines during a crackdown on online gambling, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

The Philippine immigration bureau last week detained about 1,200 Chinese people working in call center-like facilities who were suspected of running online gambling operations out of a former American air base, Clark Field.

The detentions marked the government’s biggest such round-up of Chinese nationals in the Philippines, many thought to be working there “illegally.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had requested that Manila “appropriately make arrangements” for those who had been detained and quickly release individuals who had “legal identification.”

“At the same time, China expresses concern over the large number of Chinese citizens detained by the Philippines,” Geng told a regular press briefing.

Geng added that China always reminded its citizens who traveled abroad to abide by local laws.

It is unclear if the Chinese nationals were being held for gambling offences or for visa and immigration violations, but about 900 were brought to the immigration detention center in Manila, according to a Philippine police report.

China has expressed support for other law enforcement efforts in the Philippines, including President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign, which has sparked criticism from the United States and other Western countries over fears of “extrajudicial killings.”


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