60 Vietnamese rescued from Filipino casino, repatriated

By Duc Trung   May 29, 2023 | 10:26 pm PT
60 Vietnamese rescued from Filipino casino, repatriated
60 Vietnamese people rescued from a casino in the Philippines arrive at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC, May 30, 2023. Photo by Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Vietnam has brought home 60 of a total 437 citizens who were tricked into working in a casino in the Philippines.

The group of 60 touched down at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat airport early Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

They belonged to a group of Asian forced workers that were rescued earlier by Philippine police from a casino owned by Clark Sun Valley Hub Corporation in Pampanga Province.

Philippine National Police (PNP) raided the casino on May 4 and rescued as many as 1,090 workers from across Asia.

They had been tricked into entering the Philippines illegally and forced to work at the casino against their will.

Every day they had to perform online scams to get people to buy cryptocurrency or deposit money into bogus bank accounts.

Michelle Sabino, PNP cybercrime group spokesperson, told AFP that the victims readily accepted the jobs after they were offered free flights and accommodation.

However, their passports were confiscated after arriving in the country and they were made to work for up to 18 hours a day.

"You're like a prisoner without a cell. You're not even allowed to talk to your roommates," Sabino said.

"They're not allowed to leave outside the bounds of the gate. After 18 hours of work, they're brought to their dormitory."

The PNP also arrested 12 suspected ringleaders, comprising seven Chinese nationals, four Indonesians and a Malaysian. They are facing human trafficking charges.

Cases of Vietnamese tricked into working illegally in foreign casinos are quite common in recent years.

Within the last year, over 1,000 Vietnamese that were forced into working in Cambodia illegally have been rescued and brought home.

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