43 'detained' Chinese nationals rescued in Pampanga

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — Forty-three Chinese nationals "detained" in a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO) establishment in Angeles City, Pampanga were rescued early Wednesday, authorities said.

In a media briefing, Interior Secretary Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos Jr. said only one kidnap victim was supposed to be rescued but 42 other POGO workers "similarly enslaved under human trafficking conditions" were also found in the site.

The establishment was identified as Lucky South 99, located at the Fil-Am Friendship Highway.

Abalos said foreign police counterparts provided information to local police based on complaints of the family of the abducted Chinese. The victim was reportedly held for a ₱1-million ransom since late in the evening of Sept. 12.

The 33-year-old human resource manager of the POGO company was arrested in the operation.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is further investigating the cases and that the POGO workers are also undergoing documentation and records verification.

Meanwhile, Abalos vowed to have the POGO establishment closed if evidence points to the management's involvement in criminal activities.

"If the evidence warrants — babasahin ko lang maigi, bibilisan ko [I'll just read it quickly] — ipapasarado ko kaagad ito [I'll immediately order its closure]," he said.

CNN Philippines is trying to get the side of Lucky South 99.