Controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has changed his mind regarding the imprisonment of Chinese casino magnate Jack Lam and has now set terms, which if fulfilled, will see Lam return to the Philippines. Only a month ago Jack Lam had fled the country due to fears of being arrested for illegal gambling operations, a move which the President answered with a seizure of assets, but now it seems that the tides have changed and Lam can return to the country, under three conditions.
According to a report in the Philippine Star, the first condition, according to Vitaliano Aguirre II, Justice Secretary of the Philippines, is for Lam to compensate the country for the evaded taxes accrued by his unregistered online casino, which was run at the now closed Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Pampanga, Philippines. Fontana Leisure Park’s license was revoked this December after it was found to be hosting over 1,300 Chinese immigrants who were working as call centre operators in an illegal online gambling operation, many without valid work permits. Needless to say, the workers were arrested and detained, while the Philippine regulatory body, Pagcor, stepped in to revoke the license.
The second condition named by the President is that Lam should once again apply for a Pagcor license and ensure that, from now on, he runs a legalized operation, one which will regularly pay its taxes to the country. And finally, the President seeks that Lam issues a promise not to corrupt any officials, a demand that directly stems from several confessions of from officers of the Bureau of Immigration, who admitted to receiving bribes from Lam’s associates to aid in the release of the arrested workers. Lam’s legal counsel has denied all such claims.
Duterte’s change of mind comes not long after he already lifted the cease and desist order from a number of businesses inside the Fontana Leisure Park, after complaints from local workforce who suffered from the closure.