The Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group is to host on Friday a summit to address a reported spike in that country in casino-related kidnapping incidents. Most are said to be linked to loan-sharking activities.
The event is to be attended by representatives from a number of government bodies, including casino regulator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, reported the state-controlled Philippine News Agency.
The event will include workshops and debates related to the reported rise of kidnapping incidents linked to the casino sector and to the POGO sector.
POGOs are said to have been expanding aggressively: in August, there were 58 licensed such operators in the country, and three others awaiting licences.
Authorities in that nation say they are attempting to reign in the expansion of the sector and trying better to regulate such operators, including taking stock of the the number of foreign workers employed in the sector.
Pagcor announced in August it had stopped accepting applications for POGO licences.
Reported in July that the Philippine government estimated that 138,000 people, mostly Chinese nationals, were engaged in the POGO industry, with some of them working illegally in the country.
Chinese workers are needed to support POGO operations in the Philippines because the sector reportedly deals mainly with Chinese gamblers and so requires proficiency in Mandarin.
With POGOs attracting more foreigners to the Philippines, some criminal syndicates have been also expanding their loan-sharking activities in and around casinos, many targeting Chinese gamblers, say the police.
This has led to an increase in the Philippines in the number of cases of kidnapping related to gambling debt.