China uncooperative in deportation of its nationals, asserts ‘superiority’ over PH, says Remulla

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 2) — China has been selective and uncooperative in the deportation of its nationals from the Philippines, where they were found to be involved in online scamming, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said on Friday.

On May 4, authorities first reported rescuing 1,000 trafficked victims — a mix of Filipinos and foreign nationals — working as cyber scammers at the Clark Freeport Zone. Remulla, however, said they were actually scammers and not victims.

He said the country has already deported more than 300 foreign nationals, while some were still to be repatriated. But China is not cooperating.

"Ang nangyari dito ang Chinese government ayaw mag-cooperate," Remulla told CNN Philippines' The Source. "Ang sabi nila ang gusto lang nila i-deport ay 'yong wanted nila. Itong mga bad person na hindi nila gusto, hindi nila ide-deport."

[Translation: What happened was the Chinese government refused to cooperate. They said they only want to have deported those included in their wanted list. If the persons are not part of that, they won't have them deported]

“That’s how rough they are,” he added. “They're rough sometimes that they don’t want to deal with us like equals. They want to assert a little superiority over us.”

The batch of “crypto scammers” consisted of 129 Filipinos, while the remaining were foreign nationals from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

They were employed to lure foreign customers to invest in cryptocurrency. Remulla said the operations used “sophisticated computers.”

“All of these people are actually scammers, they are not victims,” the justice secretary said. “Ang victims dito na nagdemanda lang was actually 10 lang yata sila or walo lang sila [The victims who filed a complaint were actually 10 or eight].”

“Kaya actually ang dapat na trato talaga sa mga ‘to is deportation talaga [That’s why we should treat this as deportation],” he added.

CNN Philippines has yet to receive a reply to its request for comment from the Chinese Embassy.

On May 8, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said around a dozen individuals were initially identified as traffickers of those rounded up in Clark and were brought to the agency for inquest proceedings.

The Senate conducted a hearing on May 30 to probe the alleged cyber fraud operation at Clark for links to the Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) industry.