Philippines-based gaming giant Oriental Group has been accused of treating thousands of Chinese employees like slaves, including seizing their passports, cramming them into dormitories and forcing them to work 12-hour says, seven days a week.
The revelations formed part of an investigative report by The Beijing News this week, which outlines a systematic scheme by the company to lure Chinese workers to Manila with the promise of a high-paying job. Instead, they are forced to endure shocking conditions including huge fines for breaking company rules.
According to the report, recruiters for Oriental Group have been convincing Chinese citizens to pay up to RMB16,000 (US$2,325) to be flown to Manila. Once there, they are paid monthly salaries of between RMB6,000 (US$870) and RMB8,000 (US$1,160) but rarely receive the full amount due to huge fines being imposed for infringements such as taking long lunch breaks, taking photos in the office or failing to meet certain performance goals. The fines are said to be more than the workers’ monthly wage.
The Beijing News report also says the Chinese workers are working 12 hours a day, seven days a week with only one day off per month. They are allegedly beaten and forced to eat rotten food as punishment but are unable to leave due to Oriental Group having taken their passports. Instead, the report claims the workers are forced to live in dormitories with up to 12 people in each room.
Oriental Group describes itself as “Asia’s leading gaming operator in the online and land-based gaming industry duly licenses by PAGCOR”, the Philippines gaming regulator.
It runs proxy-betting operations out of the Midas Hotel in Pasay City and says it has partnered with a number of leasing junket operators including Suncity Group and Tak Chun Group.
The report by The Beijing News has been likened to the 2016 arrest and deportation of 1,316 Chinese nationals working illegally at Jack Lam’s Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks casino in the Clark Freeport Zone. Lam was subsequently charged with bribery in a case that is ongoing, although his whereabouts remains a mystery with rumours he is currently hiding in China.