THE Bureau of Immigration arrested 342 illegal Chinese workers in a raid of a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) in Quezon City, it said in a statement on Friday.

The suspects were found to have been working in the country without a permit or visa, the bureau said.

The online gaming operator was located inside the Global Trade Center Building in Bago Bantay, Quezon City. The Chinese workers were detained pending their deportation.

The arrests add to a list of incidents involving a number of undocumented Chinese workers employed by illegal online gaming operators in the Philippines.

“This is another massive arrest by our Intelligence Division, in coordination with the Quezon City Police District-National Capital Region Police Office, Immigration Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said in a statement. “This could not have been possible without their help.”

The POGO they worked for was licensed but did not have a permit to operate from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, the bureau said.

The online gaming operator might also be a front for other unscrupulous activities, the agency said.

The Chinese government had canceled the passports of all 342 workers, making them fugitives from justice, it added.

“We coordinated this operation with the Chinese government, which confirmed the company’s involvement in illegal activities, victimizing mostly their compatriots in China,” Immigration Intelligence Division chief Fortunato S. Manahan, Jr. said in the same statement.

In September, the bureau arrested 277 Chinese workers who were part of a fraudulent online scheme in Pasig.

In the same month, 324 Chinese workers were found to have been involved in cybercrime activities in Palawan. — Gillian M. Cortez