Alice Guo’s fugitive business partner had 5 passports, and COVID travel pass

0

(1st UPDATE) PAOCC Undersecretary Gilbert Cruz says the documents found were in the villa occupied by fugitive Huang Zhiyang, the business partner of suspended Bamban Mayor Alice Guo in Baofu Land Development

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Huang Zhiyang, a fugitive from China and the business partner of suspended Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo, had five passports while he was in the Philippines, and could move around during the pandemic lockdown because of a travel pass issued by the former Bamban mayor.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story referred to Huang Zhiyang as a fugitive running from  Singapore’s money laundering case. This has been corrected.


Alice Guo’s fugitive business partner had 5 passports, and COVID travel pass

These documents were among some potential evidence found in the vaults seized by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) when they raided villas in Fontana in Clark, Pampanga last June 27. The purpose of the Fontana raid was to find persons of interest who are yet to be tracked down. The vaults were opened on Monday, July 8, after operatives secured an order from Judge Hermenegildo Dumlao II of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Third Judicial Region in Malolos, Bulacan Branch 81.

Huang was Guo’s co-incorporator when they put up Baofu in 2019. Baofu is a real estate firm that later leased its compound to the Hongsheng/Zun Yuan POGO, raided for its alleged criminal activities like human trafficking and torture. Huang remains treasurer of Baofu with 14% shares. 

Among the documents found in the Fontana vaults were Huang’s two Taiwan passports, which will undergo verification with the Taiwan embassy, according to PAOCC chief Undersecretary Gilbert Cruz who supervised the opening of the vaults. Overall, PAOCC is in possession of five different passports under Huang’s name. He has Taiwanese, Chinese and Cyprus passports, Rappler has learned.

Huang is also wanted in China, according to Senator Risa Hontiveros, who earlier told media that the Chinese embassy in Manila has also expressed its intent to take jurisdiction of Huang to face his charges there.

The POGO problem is compounded by the transnational character of the crimes and the persons involved. It’s a jurisdictional nightmare for law enforcement of all countries that have a stake. At least for Guo, who is being investigated now for qualified trafficking, the Philippine government has said it would insist to have the suspended mayor here to face the complaints, or potential trial, before she can be deported in the event it’s proven she’s not a Filipino.

Editor’s Note: We earlier reported that Huang is also wanted in Singapore. This has been corrected.

Why Huang was able to travel to the Philippines despite him being wanted in China is something for the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to answer. The BI is currently intercepting flights of POGO suspects. Despite the lack of a hold departure order, their violations of their visa status is sufficient basis for the BI to hold them temporarily.

Local government

Another document found in the Fontana vaults is a travel pass issued to Huang and his driver in August 2020, during a strict pandemic lockdown when all travels had to be sanctioned by local government. The travel pass to Huang was signed by former Bamban mayor Jose Antonio Feliciano. Feliciano later endorsed Guo in the latter’s 2022 mayoral elections.

document, hand, paper
PASS. A document shows former Bamban Mayor Jose Antonio Feliciano issued a travel pass for fugitive Huang Zhiyang and driver, Zhang Xiaosi, during the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020. Joann Manabat/Rappler

“Number one is yung question na binanggit nung Senate hearing ni Senator (Sherwin) Gatchalian about paano itinayo yung Bamban POGO hub. Yung mga structures don despite nung pandemic. Ito palang dating mayor eh nag issue ng travel pass. I think kailangan imbestigahan bakit nag issue siya ng travel pass sa mga taong pinaghihinalaan natin na nagpapatakbo ng illegal POGO hub,” Cruz said.

(Firstly, the question raised by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian during the Senate hearing about how the Bamban POGO hub came about, the structures there despite the pandemic. This former mayor issued travel passes. I think we need to investigate why he issued a travel pass to these people who we suspect were running the illegal POGO hub.)

Cruz said they also found some structural and engineering plans in the vaults.

“Sa amin kasi importante yung mga, unang una kung paano itinayo. May mga nakita rin tayong engineering plans, structural plans na sasagot doon sa mga tanong na yun,” Cruz added.

(To us, what’s important is, firstly, how it was built. We saw engineering plans, structural plans that would answer those questions.)

Present during the opening of the vaults on Monday were representatives from the Anti-Money Laundering Council, PAOCC, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and officials from Clark Development Corporation (CDC).

The CDC had locked down Fontana in May 2020 following a raid on a villa illegally operating as a makeshift hospital for Chinese patients.

persons, males, female, PAOCC Gilbert Cruz, agnes devanadera
DOCUMENTS. PAOCC Undersecretary Gilbert Cruz (left) and CDC president and CEO Agnes Devanadera (right) check some documents found in the villa of fugitive Huang Zhiyang at Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino on July 8, 2024. Joann Manabat/Rappler
Casino cards, bank statements

Cruz also revealed that casino VIP cards of Huang and Huang Suchuan were among the items found, which he said raise suspicions on potential money-laundering schemes via legitimate casinos.

As to the casino cards na na-recover, we will check dun sa mga legal casinos kasi VIP cards yung mga nakita natin eh. So pwede natin tanungin kung bakit meron siyang ganun, madalas ba siyang naglalaro, ano yung intention niya sa mga casino, baka ginagamit niya for money laundering,” Cruz said.

(As to the casino cards that we recovered, we will check with these legal casinos since these are VIP cards. So we can ask why he [Huang] has those VIP cards, how often he plays, and his intention at the casinos because he might be using that for money laundering.)

Authorities also seized bank statements and passbooks that indicated national and international transactions. Cruz said links to the bank transactions and multiple business fronts could further implicate Huang and Guo.

Two Taiwan passports belonging to Huang were also found, which will undergo verification with the Taiwan embassy. The PAOCC now has five passports all belonging to the fugitive.

All villas involved in the operation will undergo a comprehensive inventory of seized items before being locked. It remains to be business as usual, however, in Fontana.

id cards, casino cards, pictures, photos
HIGH PLAYER? Casino VIP cards are among the items found that raise suspicions of potential money laundering. Joann Manabat/Rappler

– Rappler.com

link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *