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Porac POGO hub likely involved in love scams

This undated handout photograph received from Philippines’ Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) on March 14, 2024 shows a police officer (front, center) talking to foreign nationals after a raid in a 10-hectare (25-acre) complex of buildings in Bamban town of Tarlac province, north of Manila. Hundreds of people forced to work in an online scam centre in the Philippines were rescued in a pre-dawn raid on March 14 that also saw eight suspects arrested, according to police. Police found 432 Chinese nationals, 371 Filipinos, 57 Vietnamese, eight Malaysians, three Taiwanese, two Indonesians and two Rwandans at the site. PAOCC/AFP
Charles Dantes

PNP traces ties to Bamban POGO operation

The POGO hub in Porac, Pampanga is believed to be involved in “love scams” and may have links to another POGO hub in Bamban, Tarlac, authorities said over the weekend.

The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) said its agents seized hundreds of cellphones, computers, SIM cards, and pocket Wi-Fi devices inside the raided Lucky South 99 Compound.

“These operations often involve ‘love scams’ where victims are led to believe they are communicating with a beautiful woman. She then introduces them to cryptocurrencies, and once they invest, the person disappears the next day,” PAOCC Undersecretary Gilbert Cruz said.

The Philippine National Police said the raided compound might likewise be linked to a POGO hub in Bamban.

Police said documents confiscated in Tarlac included Lucky South 99 Compound as one of many companies linked to the illegal operations of Zun Yuan Technology Inc.

Last March 13, authorities raided a 10-hectare area operated by Zun Yuan Technology Inc. and found several devices linked to POGO operations. Over 600 Filipinos and foreigners were rescued during the raid.

Suspended Bamban Mayor Alice Guo was found to be the incorporator of Baofu Land Development Inc. that owns the land where the POGO complex is located.

Additionally, PAOCC agents recovered alleged torture devices, such as metal sticks and baseball bats, which may have been used on a torture victim rescued, from the Porac last Tuesday.

On Friday, authorities rescued a foreigner with bruises on his body from one of the padlocked rooms within the POGO hub. According to the victim, they tortured him with a baseball bat because he wanted to resign.

“We saw a man tied up in a bed frame, full of bruises. We got him. Someone was screaming like last night, so we were forced to go in there and found out that he had been tied up for several days,” PAOCC spokesperson Winston Casio said.

PAOCC rescued up to four foreigners in the Lucky South 99 compound, while 159 are in their custody because they are without passports.

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