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China embassy downplays Chinese role in crimes in Philippines

China on Wednesday downplayed reports on the increasing number of Chinese citizens involved in crime in the country, calling such incidents "isolated."

The Chinese Embassy in Manila made the statement following in the wake of reports that Chinese citizens in the Philippines were involved in such crimes as money laundering and pornography.

The reports also came in the wake of the influx of Chinese citizens working in Philippine offshore gaming operations of POGOs.

"Individual illegal and criminal cases involving Chinese citizens are only isolated incidents and cannot represent the whole picture of China-Philippines relations," an embassy statement said.

The embassy said China was opposed to "any irresponsible remarks based on fake news and condemns any groundless allegations against China out of ulterior political motives."

‘Just because you declare...’

Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday said Filipinos and Chinese citizens have brought into the country $447 million or P22.69 billion in cash during the past five months from September 2019 to February 2020.

He said 46.98 percent or P10.6 billion of the amount was brought in by Chinese.

Gordon, the chairman of the Senate's Blue Ribbon Committee, raised concerns on potential money laundering and other illegal activities.

"The classic thing about it is that they are matino. Pumapasok nang legal, idinedeklara na sila ay nagpapasok ng milyun-milyun-milyong dolyar," Gordon said.

"Just because you declare does not mean you're not a money launderer," he added.

Fighting crime

The embassy said the Chinese government was committed to combating all kinds of illegal and criminal activities and has been maintaining close cooperation with the relevant agencies of Philippine government on cracking down transnational crimes.

Such cooperation with Philippine authorities has led to "fruitful results," the embassy said.

Since 2016, a large number of Chinese citizens have been hired for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations or POGO.

Any form of gambling by Chinese citizens, including online-gambling, gambling overseas, opening and operating casinos overseas to attract citizens of China as primary customers, is illegal, the embassy said.

China said offshore gambling has resulted to cross-border crimes, such as money laundering, which undermines China's financial supervision and financial security.

With the influx of Chinese workers in the country, several Chinese nationals have reportedly been involved in organized crimes, such as human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, and fraud.

Legitimate rights

The Chinese embassy vowed to safeguard "the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the Philippines and has been providing consular service and protection for them to the best of its ability."

"The embassy is willing to continue to strengthen communication and cooperation with the Philippine side in this regard, " it said.

China, it added, is willing to work with the Philippines to push for a "comprehensive strategic cooperation to a new level." —NB, GMA News