The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) on Wednesday raided an online gambling site in Pasig City.
Caught in the act at Pacific Creative Solutions, SC, Inc., were traders in what appeared to be a sophisticated office with numerous computers running the gambling operation like clockwork.
Website developers were also caught in another office of Plus 65 Technologies Corp. located in another building.
Authorities arrested Malaysian national Leow Wai Pin and his 18 Filipino personnel.
The PNP-ACG received information from a former employee who complained about not getting back pay.
"May pumunta sa opisina namin humingi sya ng tulong dahil dahil noong sya ay empleyado pa dito, nagkaroon ng anomalya sa kanilang mga back pay na hindi naiibigay. Doon niya nasabi na ang kanyang kumpanya ay involved daw sa online gambling," said Senior Inspector Artemio Cinco Jr., PNP-ACG spokesperson.
Armed with search warrants for the two operating sites, PNP-ACG operatives targeted Malaysian and Singaporeans suspects who allegedly operated gambling platforms on online cockfighting and bullfighting.
"Doon namin napag-alaman na ito ay pinamumunuan ng ilang foreigners na sila ay Malaysian at Singaporean nationals. Doon din namin napag-alaman na yung website na ginagamit nila ay talagang nagke-cater ng online sabong and bullfighting," Cinco said.
The suspects allegedly used cockfighting videos from the Philippines and bullfighting from Indonesia in their online gambling operations.
"Sa pag-examine ng ating mga forensic (team), ito ay live streaming. Bini-video galing sa mga cockpit area sa buong Pilipinas at habang pinapanood sa ibang bansa, doon sila tumataya. Kung sakaling may manalo sa kanila ipinapadala nila through online ang panalo ng tao," Cinco said.
Credit card payments are used both for placing bets and claiming the prize money. Bets are placed mostly from China, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
"Kung makikita niyo, dito nila pinapanood iyung live streaming, kung hindi sabong, bullfighting. Ito ay inooperate ng mga empleyado," Cinco explained.
Cinco said the particular operation was bolder than usual.
"Hindi sila kumuha ng tamang permit sa PAGCOR. Hindi sila pinapayagan ng ating gobyerno na mag-operate ng ganitong klase ng negosyo," Cinco said.
Authorities are now investigating the link between online gambling and cockfighting locations since they recovered broadcast cameras which were possibly used in cockpit arenas.
"Kailangan muna namin mag-conduct ng imbestigasyon pa kung ano ang kinalaman ng cockpit arena sa pagpo-provide nung actual sabong na ito," Cinco said.
All suspects will be charged with violation of Anti-Gambling Law and RA 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.