Chinese firm in Ortigas points to Ceza license in denying its operations illegal
MANILA, Philippines—The Chinese firm raided by authorities for allegedly operating illegally, including serving as an unlicensed gaming operator, insisted that its activities were legal and licensed by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) although it was holding office in Ortigas, a business district in Pasig City.
In a letter to Immigration Chief Jaime Morente, Grapefruit Services Inc. (GSI) said its operations in Ortigas, hundreds of kilometers from Ceza, was legal and it wasn’t involved in unlicensed gaming.
GSI, its letter said, is not a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (Pogo) and “not in any way involved in online gambling.”
Xingfeng Ou, chief operations officer of GSI, said his company was a “qualified Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (Ceza) enterprise and was authorized to do business” by Ceza.
Xingfeng also said it hired Chinese nationals as employees based on documents the applicants submitted like passports, visas and others.
GSI, Xingfeng said, “presumed that they are not fugitives from justice since they were issued passports by the Chinese government and they were given visas to enter the Philippines.”
“Also, the fact that they were able to pass through Chinese and Philippine immigration presupposes that they are not fugitives” or are on the Interpol watchlist, the letter said.
“Otherwise, they should have been arrested at the airports,” it added.
The raid, covered by a mission order from Morente, targeted only four Chinese nationals but Xingfeng said 270 others were arrested, which he said was “illegal.”
Xingfeng added that only the four—Chen Xianfeng, Qi Heng, Wang Changsen and Qin Shuxin—were named in Morente’s mission order and “thus the arrest of other persons is illegal unless the same falls under the rule of warrantless arrest.”
The 274 other Chinese nationals arrested during the raid carried valid passports and visas to work in the Philippines, Xingfeng said.
They should not have been arrested because they were not violating any Philippine law, he added.
The raid, he said, “creates an impression” for other Ceza-licensed companies that “the same can happen to them inspite of the fact that they were given license by the Philippine government and their employees are holders of duly issued passports and visas.”
Xingfeng asked Morente to look at “the facts” in the case of the 274 Chinese employees of GSI./tsb
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