20 MINORS RESCUED FROM MAKATI CYBER-SEX BAR

Makati City, June 3, 2003 -- Government agents rescued at least 20 minors 
who were caught performing "virtual sex" to clients based abroad inside a 
cyber-sex joint in Makati City.

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said the minors were communicating 
with their clients via web-cameras.

Also arrested were the "operators" of the establishment identified as 
Carolyn Uson and Loren Pineda, vice president and manager, respectively, of 
McBass Inc. The two are now facing charges of obscene publication, 
violation of the Anti-Dummy Law, child abuse, and procurement of services.

Uson and Pineda, however, filed robbery charges against the NBI before the 
Makati police. Uson and Pineda claimed the establishment they run is an 
appliance store and NBI agents filched several appliances during the raid 
which they said was conducted without a warrant.

The agents countered the charge, saying McBass has been known for filing 
"counter-charges" immediately against any law enforcement agency that raids 
its joint.

"We expected this. Other agencies, including the police, have raided their 
joint and they were all slapped with counter-charges. But how can we have 
robbed them of appliances when in the first place there was no appliance in 
the joint we raided," one agent said.
Agents said the joint has been operating since the early 1990s, though it 
started offering cybersex "services" in mid-1990s.

NBI Anti-Fraud and Computer Crimes Division operatives seized several 
computers and video web-cameras when they conducted the raid last Friday.

Agents caught 20 minors performing in front of these cameras to "clients" 
based abroad for $3.99 a minute. The joint accepts payments through HSBC, 
Visa and MasterCard.

"The minors we rescued did not feel they were exploited. They said they 
were not touched because they would touch themselves in front of the 
Internet cameras at the clients' request. They were recruited from the 
provinces on promises of work as models," agents said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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