We're legal - raided firm

September 17, 2019

GRAPEFRUIT Service Inc. (GSI), the company that was raided by the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) last September 11 denied being involved in illegal online gambling or any illegal online activities, and insisted that it is the authorized service provider of a corporation that operates a crypto-currency business which is legitimate and legal in the Philippines.

In his letter to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente dated September 16, 2019, Xingfeng Ou, Chief Operations Officer (CEO) of GSI, located at the 37th floor of One Corporate Center in Julia Vargas Avenue cor. Meralco Avenue, Brgy. San Antonio, Pasig City, said that the mission order from the Bureau of Immigration was directed only against the four (4) Chinese nationals who are allegedly fugitives from justice and hiding in the Philippines. But only three (3) of them, namely, Chen Xianfeng, Qi Heng and Wang Changsen, were arrested during the raid.

“It is clear that only Chen Xianfeng, Qi Heng, Wang Changsen, and Qin Shuxin are the subjects of Mission Order No. JHM-2019-270. Thus, the arrest of other persons pursuant thereto is illegal unless the same falls under the rule of warrantless arrest,” Ou argued.

Ou insisted that they have no knowledge that the Chinese nationals are fugitives because when they applied for work at GSI, the company only relied on the documents they submitted, i.e. valid passports, valid visas, among others. Besides, they presumed that they are not fugitives from justice since they were issued passports by the Chinese government and they were given visas to enter the Philippines. Also, the fact that they were able to pass through Chinese and Philippine immigration presupposes that they are not fugitives and/or that their names are not included in the watchlist of INTERPOL, otherwise they should have been arrested at the airports.

As regards the other 274 Chinese nationals arrested by FSU, Ou said that they have valid passports and CEZA working visas while the others have pending application with CEZA, and the rest are just visitors or relatives of the employees. Hence, they should not have been arrested because they were not violating any law during the raid. But after the raid, their passports were immediately cancelled by the Chinese Embassy which is a classic example of a flawed postscript or afterthought designed to justify their illegal arrest.

Ou also pointed out that GSI is not a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) and not in any way involved in online gambling activities.  He insisted that their company is a service provider of another CEZA licensed company involved in financial technology solutions offering offshore virtual currency exchange service. He said that GSI is a “qualified Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport Enterprise” and was authorized to do business pursuant to Certificate of Registration CSEZFP Enterprise No. CF-426 issued by CEZA. Accordingly, and being the authorized service provider of Golden Millenial Quickpay Inc. Limited, it may perform business at CEZA accredited premises like the One Corporate Center in Ortigas.

He said that the arrest of the 274 Chinese nationals is an unfortunate incident that creates an impression to other CEZA accredited establishments that the same can happen to them in spite of the fact that they were given license by the Philippine government and their employees are holders of duly issued passports and visas.

Ou argued that the incident should not have been allowed by the Philippine government since CEZA was created by Republic Act No. 7922 in order to attract foreign investors. For this reason, he requested Commissioner Morente to consider the given facts and circumstances surrounding the incident and to resolve the case against the arrested 274 Chinese nationals based on the legal documents or evidence they provided.

In can be recalled that the BI-FSU together with the NCRPO operatives raided GSI offices at Once Corporate Center building in Pasig City last September 11 and was presented to the media this last Monday.