Torture den found in Pasay POGO hub

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

Daphne Galvez – The Philippine Star

November 1, 2023 | 12:00am

Handcuffs hang from a steel bar along the wall of a torture chamber found in a POGO hub in Pasay recently. Inset shows Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission executive director Gilbert Cruz holding a baseball bat and a rattan stick found in the torture chamber. Images courtesy of the PAOCC.

MANILA, Philippines — A torture den was discovered in a Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) hub in Pasay City that was recently raided for allegedly having sex dens and housing illegal operations, including love and crypto scams, the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) said yesterday.

Various torture devices – tasers, rattan sticks, baseball bats, airsoft guns and a wooden club – were found in a room in the facility, according to PAOCC executive director Gilbert Cruz.

“They torture those who have not paid their fees, especially if they rented a prostitution room and hired women, and also those who ran afoul of them,” Cruz said in Filipino during a press briefing.

A total of 731 suspected victims of human trafficking, both foreigners and Filipinos, were rescued after personnel from the PAOCC, the Philippine National Police and Department of Justice – armed with a search warrant issued by a court – raided two POGOs in Pasay.

The POGOs were found to be operating illegally as their licenses had been revoked by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Among those rescued were seven Filipino women who were in an aquarium-style viewing chamber.

An initial batch of six suspects – five Chinese and a Filipino who allegedly acted as a recruiter – underwent inquest proceedings on charges of human trafficking and torture, according to the PAOCC.

The victims were recruited through Facebook and were told they would work as encoders, but were forced into prostitution upon arriving at the POGO hub, officials said.

According to Cruz, one of the victims said he was kidnapped and sold for P500,000. Another revealed he has been held for more than a year and forced to work 12 to 15 hours a day.

Condoms and other sexual paraphernalia were recovered in a massage parlor.

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