President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the arrest of one of Asia’s biggest gambling moguls after he allegedly attempted to bribe Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo in order to protect his Philippine casino operations.
Last week, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre accused chairman of the Jimei Group, Jack Lam also known as Lam Yi Lok of attempting to bribe him just a few days after authorities cracked down on the Chinese nationals working at his Clark Freeport casino.
“I am giving orders to all units to arrest [Jack Lam] immediately as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte for the case of bribery and economic sabotage,” said Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa on Saturday.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II last week also urged Congress to look into the “ninong,” or protector who allowed Lam to bring in illegal Chinese workers, run an unlicensed online gaming business and accumulate billions of pesos in unpaid royalties to the government from operations of his Fontana Leisure Park and Casino at Clark Freeport in Pampanga province.
Along with Lam, police have also been tasked to find and arrest former police general Wally Sombero, the one that had allegedly asked the Justice Secretary to be Lam’s “ninong” during the meeting.
However, it appears Lam already left the country on Nov. 29, days before the arrest order was made.
Lam’s legal counsel, Raymond Fortun in a text message to the Inquirer said he had “no comment’ regarding President Duterte’s order to have Lam arrested.
When asked whether he had already talked to Lam, Fortun said, “No word from him.”
It has also been confirmed that Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino has now been closed by police by executive order of the president. Lam’s operation in Fort Ilocandia has also closed.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente has been asked by dela Rosa to issue an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order against Lam, and a nationwide man-hunt is now underway for his whereabouts.
“We are appealing to anybody who knows where Jack Lam is to report his location to the nearest police station. He is a Chinese national operating an online gaming at Fontana in Clark,” said dela Rosa.