LAM ON THE LAMB FROM PHILIPPINES (Update)
Immigration Bureau spokesperson confirms Macau-based businessman left the country a day after meeting with Justice Secretary.
The widespread alerts on land and online gambling tycoon Jack Lam in the Philippines following President Rodrigo Duterte's order to the chief of police to arrest him on bribery and "economic sabotage" allegations will be to no avail, according to an official Immigration Bureau statement Sunday.
BI spokesperson Antoinette Mangrobang told local media reporters: “A certain Lam Yin Lok (Lam’s known Chinese name) left the country last Nov. 29," adding that the Macau-based businessman had boarded a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport last Tuesday.
"Our records also showed Lam arrived in Manila last Nov. 25 aboard a China Airlines flight from Taipei,” she said, observing that there was no record of any return to the Philippines since his departure.
Mangrobang said Lam uses a Subic-Clark Investor’s Visa (SCIV), a special visa issued by the government to foreign investors based at the Clark Freeport.
In a further development, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has alleged without giving details that the mass arrests of 1,316 Chinese nationals at Lam's Fontana venue on immigration offenses could have been far more numerous – perhaps as many as 3,000 – had advance information of the police and BI raid not been leaked by persons unknown.
On Sunday, following an order from President Duterte, police accompanied by Pagcor officials "temporarily" shut down Lam's main casino and 15 casino rooms in Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in the Clark Freeport Zone, leaving the premises under police guard.
Reporters were informed that the closure was due to "…lack of permits, legal documents and immigration papers."
Nothing has been heard from Lam, and his whereabouts are not presently known, sources said.