Beneath the bustling streets of Pasay City, authorities in the Philippines have unearthed a clandestine operation as unnerving as it is illicit: an underground hospital, nestled within an online gambling compound, meticulously equipped for both healing and deception. This startling revelation emerges amidst a larger narrative; two additional facilities of similar intent are alleged to be in operation, a web of intrigue tied to the pulsing heart of the POGO industry.

For those uninitiated, POGO stands for Philippine offshore gaming operator, a sector that burgeoned under the watch of former president Rodrigo Duterte—a realm licensed, taxed, but with a caveat to spare Philippine citizens from its digital snares, instead casting nets towards China, where online gambling dwells beyond the pale of legality.

Yet, the whir of POGO’s machinery is not solely filled with the clatter of chance and fortune. Within its gears are stories of human souls trafficked and coerced into servility, their plight a shadow cast long and dark under Duterte’s successor, President Bongbong Marcos, has sworn to dispel. And from this pledge, crackdowns have ensued: as in Porac, Pampanga province, where one hundred and fifty Chinese citizens were plucked from bondage, the specter of torture devices found lurking within the compound’s confines.

A litany of crimes, over 4,000 reported since the beginning of 2017, festering until mid-last year; kidnappings, murders, a litany that has compelled the president to declare war against the country’s defacement as a ‘scam hub’, dispatching directives aimed at dismantling the veritable scam farms casting wide nets of deceit across the globe.

Delving into the catacombs of the recently unveiled facility in Pasay City, officers uncovered an arsenal designed to not just mend, but metamorphose: hair transplant apparatuses, dental implants, skin-whitening drips—a veritable chrysalis where, per Winston John Casio, spokesperson of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), one might emerge reborn in identity.

Their suspicions aren’t unfounded. The narrative intertwines with that of Andy Chen, a mafia suspect with tendrils in human trafficking and the POGO niche, nabbed by immigration in December 2022 post-operation to alter his visage.

The clandestine clinic came to light through whispers of an informant, leading authorities to intercept two Vietnamese doctors, a Chinese physician, a Chinese pharmacist, and a Vietnamese nurse—all practicing the healing arts devoid of Philippine licensing.

While the two additional underground hospitals residing in Metro Manila supposedly surpass the Pasay facility in scale, Casio expresses the unnerving belief that the discovered operations are but a glimpse into an extensive, shadowy network woven throughout the nation.

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Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson, a Senior Editor and respected voice in iGaming and sports, brings over a decade of journalism experience with a focus on digital gaming and cryptocurrency. Starting in sports analysis, he now leads a team of writers, delivering insightful and advanced content in the dynamic world of online gaming. An avid gamer and crypto-enthusiast, Mark's unique perspective enriches his professional analysis. He's also a regular speaker at industry conferences, sharing his views on the future of iGaming and digital finance. Follow his latest articles and insights on social media.


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