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Medical materials to be transported from China to the Philippines. Photo: Xinhua via Getty

Police in the Philippines have raided multiple illegal hospitals in recent weeks that have reportedly been secretly treating Chinese patients with the coronavirus and other diseases.

Why it matters: These facilities not only pose health risks, they've also shed light on the industry many of the patients worked in: offshore gambling.

Driving the news: In May, police raided a leisure park and casino in Clark, the site of a former U.S. air base northwest of Manila. There they found a converted seven-bed hospital and drug store.

  • The suspected owner and pharmacist were arrested, while a Chinese patient was transferred to a hospital.
  • Many of the clients reportedly belong to the area's Chinese community and work in online gambling.
  • “More than 200 suspected coronavirus rapid test kits and syringes were recovered from trash cans at the villa,” per the AP.
  • Clark officials have ordered a full lockdown of Fontana Leisure Park, saying: “This illegal activity not only violates the law, but also poses danger to individuals who potentially need medical treatment for the deadly disease.”

In April, authorities raided another illegal Chinese clinic in the city of Parañaque.

  • Treatment beds, IV stands, and unregistered Chinese drugs — reportedly for sexually transmitted diseases, dengue, and COVID-19 — were found inside the unsanitary clinic, according to city officials.
  • “Apparently they treat their own. Many witnesses see Chinese nationals getting medicines, going in and out wearing dextrose,” said Dr. Olga Virtusio of Parañaque City Health Center.
  • This facility also was also reportedly treating Chinese nationals who work in online gambling.

Big picture: Philippine offshore gaming operators cater to gamblers in China, where gambling is illegal. They employ tens of thousands of Chinese nationals, most of them undocumented.

Go deeper

Aug 26, 2020 - World

U.S. targets Chinese individuals, companies over escalation in South China Sea

Fishing vessels are seen in the South China Sea Photo: Artyom Ivanov/TASS via Getty Images

The Department of Commerce on Wednesday blacklisted 24 Chinese firms for "helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea."

Why it matters: The move comes as the Trump administration continues to ramp up pressure on Beijing amid escalating tensions in the disputed region.

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Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.