Six people from South Korea were nabbed by the National Bureau of Investigation because they were found to be involved in illegally running an online gambling enterprise. The Korean nationals were part of a group of thirteen people arrested by the NBI after a raid conducted on their business located in Cabancalan, Mandaue City, Philippines. They were brought to the Mandaue City Prosecutor’s Office to face charges.
The six people charged have been identified as Choi Jun Lee, Joe Seong Woon Kim Jim Ho, Kang Dae Yeop, Kim Chi Min, and Kim Tea Sick. Their bail has been set at P12,000 per person. However, the people named in the warrant, Randy Bernales and Rhee Myun Dong were not on the premises at the time it was raided.
The authorities were unable to charge seven of the people in the house because they were asleep at the time of the raid. Only the people operating the equipment at the time the team entered the house could be charged. However, the remaining seven people will not get off scot free for the moment. The Bureau of Immigration has been alerted about the case and it will be conducting background checks on them to see whether they were in the country legally and were working without having a valid visa to do so.
All the suspects are likely to stay in the NBI’s radar until the complaint against them by the Mandaue City Prosecution has been resolved.
Operating Without License in Philippines
According to NBI Special Agent Arnel Pura, the suspects had been operating an online gambling business from the premises without first obtaining a licence from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the government agency that regulates online gambling in the country. The group had been on the NBI’s radar for a while after a tip-off from informants about an illegal operation being conducted by them. While the information about the group was received in January this year, it took a few more months for the information to be verified and the surveillance to start. It has been a challenge to uncover their activities entirely thanks to the anonymity offered by the internet.
Hardware Seized from Their Homes
The NBI also seized a sizeable amount of hardware from the Koreans’ house. This included three central processing units, nine monitors, and a number of power supply boxes which were most likely used to conduct the illegal gambling operation. The raiding team also collected a number of bills and receipts that could be used to assess the size of the operation. They also seized passports and cellular phones belonging to the suspects.
The search warrant for the operation had been issued by Judge Ricky Jones of the Cebu City Regional Trial Court Branch 5. The will be charged with violating the country’s law on illegal gambling, the 2012’s Cybercrime Prevention Act. There is a likelihood that the entire group of Koreans will be deported from the Philippines. They will also be blacklisted from entering the country again.
The Koreans had launched their illegal gambling operation earlier this year. It seems to have been a very profitable operation, give that they haven’t paid licensing fees to Pagcor. Besides, the group has been paying rent in the range of P100,000 per month for the large two-storey townhouse. This is where they have been operating their gambling business. Even so, prosecutors will have to sift through a lot of data to find out exactly how much money the group had earned so far.
The online gambling site offered sports betting, with a particular focus on games played in South Korea. It had a widespread reach. It catered to customers as far apart as the United States, Australia, and of course the Philippines and South Korea.