CEBU CITY, Philippines- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has rescued about 34 female Chinese nationals who allegedly worked for a prostitution den in Lapu-Lapu City. NBI Central Visayas Director Tomas Enrile said the women were lured to come over to work in the Philippine Online Gaming Operators (POGO) island in Cavite but ended instead as guest relations officers (GRO) in the Royal One KTV in the Tourist Golden Hotel in Barangay Agus, Lapu-Lapu City.
Enrile said the women who came from the different provinces in China catered only to Chinese clienteles for at least P35,000 payment as bar fines. “They were told to work in POGO but instead ended here in Cebu” Enrile told the media in a late Monday night press conference inside the NBI- Central Visayas Office (NBI-Cevro).
The 34 women were released prior to the presscon and are now in the custody of Chinese consul officials. Four other Chinese women were arrested however after they were identified as the alleged pimps of the establishments and have been earlier charged criminally in the Lapu-Lapu Prosecutors Office.
Zeng Dan, 27; Quan Yiqing, 26; Xiuzhu Wei, 44 and Xiushen Wei, 43, were collared as they allegedly were involved in the transaction of getting the services of the women to undercover NBI agents who posed as Chinese nationals.
“The clients would deal with them first. The transaction, say availing them for sex, you have to talk to them. Their participation is really established in this case. In our local parlance, “mamasan,” Enrile said further. NBI assistant Regional Director Dominador Cimafranca said they worked extensively on surveillance prior to the operation last Friday night.
The NBI operation was based on a search warrant issued by Lapu-Lapu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Joseph Stephen Ignacio. Aside from the four who are now facing criminal charges for alleged violations of Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act (R.A. 9208) in relation to the Expanded Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act (R.A. 10364), four others who were not around during the operation were also charged similarly, Lingyuang Huang, Xiabing Lin, Zhang Yue and Li Ping.
According to Enrile they are conducting further investigation to determine the local contacts of the Chinese nationals including in determining if local officials are to be held responsible for failing to detect the illegal activities of the establishment.
During the NBI operation, Agus Barangay Captain Jimboy Igot and Barangay councilor Cesario Tampus acted as witnesses. Under RA 10364 trafficking of persons, transporting them to engaged in acts of prostitution is a non-bailable offense.
NBI sources said Cebu has a huge Chinese market which would explain why the 34 women worked as “high-class GRO” for the KTV bar that was the front for prostitution. Aside from the P35,000 as a bar fine to avail for the services of the women, another P6,000 is to be paid by a client for the use of an exclusive VIP room and another P7,500 as a fee to the girl who will entertain the guest.
POGO island according to reports is a former Island Cove Resort owned by a political family in Cavite and it is designed to be the exclusive haven for the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) in the country reaching about 20,000 Chinese workers./AAJ