Manila: The rising number of Chinese migrant workers in the Philippines getting in trouble with the law has forced police to learn their language.

Colonel Jonnel Estomo, director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), said the rising number of foreign workers in the country, particularly the Chinese, had posed problems for the PNP as they are confronted with suspects who speak a different languages.

He said they had to ask for interpreters to conduct their investigations, especially while getting statements from victims, suspects and witnesses who can’t speak Filipino or English.

Estomo said PNP would be sending some of its police officers to learn the language so that they could take on the cases involving Chinese nationals on their own.

According to Estomo, since 2017, when the country began to take in Chinese white collar workers for the so-called Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), casino-related crimes such as kidnappings have been on the rise.

He said at least 53 cases of casino-related kidnap cases that victimised 57 tourists and involved 119 Chinese suspects were recorded. These figure do not include the latest two cases on Tuesday where four Chinese nationals holding tourist visas detained a POGO-worker compatriot at one of the Makati City-based casinos. Police said that this particular case was an apparent loan-sharking deal gone bad. The victim was playing cards at a Paranaque City casino when his compatriots approached him and offered him a loan.

The victim took the loan offer but had been unable to pay up and was detained by his compatriots until he could come up with the money. Fortunately, the PNP stepped into the case.

Several weeks ago, a Chinese national working for a POGO fell to his death with his hands restrained by handcuffs. Police suspected it was another gambling-related death.

The Chinese Embassy reportedly asked the Philippine government to take action on the POGO issue and crime involving Chinese victims from the mainland who are employed as migrant workers.

The Chinese Embassy said if they had their way, they would not allow gambling for Chinese nationals.

Gambling is not allowed in China and businessmen, in order to circumvent restrictions, opened up casinos in the Philippines catering to Chinese nationals.