1,200 Chinese Casino Workers Arrested in the Philippines

1,200 Chinese Casino Workers Arrested in the Philippines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is no stranger to controversy.

Since his rise to power he has become notorious for inappropriate media statements by likening his approach to politics to Hitler’s World War II massacre of European Jews, claiming to take Viagra to improve his sex life, and proclaiming that he would be willing to kill his own children if they ever took illegal narcotics.

"Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I'd be happy to slaughter them."

This week, however, the president of the Philippines is under the global media microscope for taking 1,200 Chinese workers into custody. According to Business Insider, the Philippine government is accusing the employees of running unlicensed online gambling operations out of a former US Air Base turned call centre. The Chinese government expressed both concern and confusion, as per local reports 900 of the detainees were taken to an immigration detention centre in the country’s capital, Manila.

The discrepancy in information is yet to be resolved, and the Chinese government is demanding for the release of citizens holding valid identification.

While the Philippine leader is best known for his bloody war on drugs, President Duterte has also set his sights on cracking down on corruption in the Philippine gambling industry. While casino activity is not illegal in the Philippines, the gambling industry is heavily regulated by the local government.

Although this recent incident may interfere with Duterte’s attempts to reconcile political ties with China, for local casino industry moguls like Enrique Razon, the crackdown is an opportunity for legitimate casino owners.

The Japan Times have reported that Razon, who is planning to build a 20 Billion Peso ($418 million) casino resort in Manila, finds the recent increase in casino policing a positive development and that the Philippine casino industry has actually seen an increase in Chinese visitors since Duterte was elected.

“I think cracking down on this, looking at it from our perspective, helps the licensed casinos,”

Considering the fact that Duterte’s anti-drug policies have resulted in millions of deaths, these arrests are a minor punishment for the alleged Chinese lawbreakers. Whether this is because of Duterte’s interest in smoothing over relations with China, as he has stated in the past that he would be the first to join a Russian-Chinese new world order, or if he has a soft-spot for casinos is yet to be determined.

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