Saturday Night Raids
At approximately 1030pm on Sat 2 Aug Calypso & Grand Pharaoh were raided by CIDG Manila....Read
There are lots of rumors, but too early for determining full details. I will update this post in the next few days as we know more. Details from a reliable source:
The raid was conducted by CIDG Manila.
They used a Korean asset to pay a bar fine and promptly raided straight after.
They detained customers, all girls and staff. They questioned all foreigners found on the premises but let the majority go after having inspected their identification documents.
Before releasing any foreigners they were asking if any of them is the manager or owner of the bar.
They detained Mark, aka "Hollywood" who was actually on the microphone as the MC during the "Search for Queen of Calypso" event.
They questioned all girls and after making them write down their name. They reportedly released all girls who were 20 or over.
They brought in a huge black bus which they parked outside Calypso & Grand Pharaoh at 3:AM.
Posted by JC on 2014-08-02
I received a text last Saturday night informing me of the raid and provided most of the details provided by JC above but wanted to wait for further confirmation. I must admit that I was sorry that this raid took place after enjoy a month or so of relative peace. I knew the raids would occur again but was hoping for a longer break.
Once again a Korean asset was used and once again the "bar fine" set up procedure was used. The detention of "Hollywood" was uncalled for. He is not a manager, not an owner, just someone performing as an MC, something he has been doing for years in this town. I can only hope for his quick release.
t do not like the idea of questioning the customers in their attempt to capture an owner or manager.
Here is an eyewitness report:
To start I was there taking pictures at the 9 - 11pm dance contest event. At 10:30pm a girl came running through the bar and out the back staircase, not a particularly unusual occurrence I initially thought. A few seconds later as I am standing there huge SLR camera in hand many more girls come flowing up to the back of the bar until one girl yelled "RAID". That was it, the stampede began. Within seconds girls jumping tables, grabbing bags, abandoning drinks and running for the back.
Upon hearing this I threw my camera into it's carry bag but was worried what might happen if they saw me with it as it contained about 400 pictures from in the bars. Quickly I removed the memory cards and hid them in my wallet.
Just as I packed away the cards a real official looking guy with a CIDG shirt and hand radio walked the length of the bar. At this point most customers had thrown some cash in their bill cup and were making their way to the door, so I did the same with my girl clinging to my arm. I assumed they would let me leave but I was worried about her being detained.
Approaching the door a lot of pushing and shoving was taking place and I saw Hollywood being walked to the entrance of Level 1 bar, I was not sure if he was being taken by choice or not. As I reached the officer at the door I could see the large luxury bus with curtains in all the windows parked across the length of the Pharaoh group bars. One foreigner and his wife were in front of me trying really hard to convince them to let them leave, but to no avail. In a last ditch effort he tried to run through the officers which was just as effective as talking to them. We were all ushered back inside followed by the officer that first walked in.
Once inside he had all the girls including my girl and other customers girls stand on one side of the bar and all the customers on the other (about 3 of us). The officer said that we were to be taken to Camp Crame in Manila and he started to file everyone towards the back of the bar. It was at this point I decided to ditch my camera in the pile of girls bags near the front door.
It became clear that we were all being taken into Level 1 bar through the doorway linking the 2 bars together on the 2nd floor. While the officer was not looking I ditched my business cards under some handbags laying around on the tables.
Once through the doorway it was more clear why there was such a large bus and only one or two officers in Calypso, They were raiding all three bars. Level 1 was full of alteast 20 customers, a fair few officers in assorted clothing (armed with nothing more than handguns) and just packed wall to wall with the girls that didn't escape.
At this point I sat at one of the tables turned to the manager and said "Damn, I could use a drink." I also found that any customer who had walked out the front of Calypso were now in Level 1 including Hollywood. The bar was strangely quiet with all the girls mostly in shock or fear, all the foreigners talked amongst themselves about who they knew, what they had heard, what had happened in previous raids and a few gathered their cash to try to pay someone off.
10 minutes passed and nothing seemed to be happening other than by the pool table I could see girls writing their names and what I later learnt was their age on blank sheets of line paper. Unsurprisingly I saw officers carrying out "evidence" in the form of the accounting books. As I sat at this table trying to reassure my girl, another customers girl started to yell and argue with one of the officers. The officer seemed to be ignoring anything we asked him and all he could say was, they are taking us to Camp Crame for "verification". This girl really laid it on hard to the officer and her boyfriend couldn't even hold her back. She kept at him until the officer eventually retreated out the door.
Eventually a very patronizing officer who seemed to be above the rest, started requesting foreigner ID's. He then wrote down the foreigners names, asked if they were the manager, and then after a while announced that we could leave. I didn't exactly trust his claim as there was a big commotion as the first few guys went to leave, I thought maybe they were just the first to leave... On the bus. I gave my ID and was told I could leave but my girl had to stay, I claimed she is my girlfriend I would not leave without her. Just to be safe I moved towards the exit with my girl and luckily asked a friendly looking officer if the guys were in fact being put on the bus. He reassured me this was not the case and asked me about my girl, which again I claimed to this new guy that she is my girlfriend. He took her over to the guy in charge who was writing down the name, a quick Tagalog exchange and a long pause accompanied by some puppy dog eyes, the guy caved in and let us both go.
We wasted no time as this point as soon as we got the nod I near ran for the door with girl in hand. Once out the door all I could see was this huge bus and some officers at the ends of it to ensure no runners. I proceeded unobstructed past the bus and ducked under the awning of the hotel across the street. I had no intention of leaving as my camera was still in Calypso which I was not going to come back to Shagger and say I had lost.
Little more happened for the next few minutes the rain, a huge crowd with umbrellas and a giant bus made seeing anything near impossible. At this point my knees were still wobbly and I needed a rest so I decided to try out the new Mexican place outside nearby High Society. The taco was great and I felt more relaxed to go back and watch the proceedings.
At one point some girls were released or escaped they ran a short distance when out so it was not clear exactly what the case was. As these girl ran the crowd swamped the area almost as if to lay down cover for the girls. This opened up an opportunity for me because the entire crowd was focused around the bus and level 1 entrance which meant the entrance to Calypso was behind the crowd line though still blocked by a chair and likely manned by and officer on the inside. This seemed like the best time to stand by the door, by a stroke of luck an officer tried to open the door from inside but the chair held it close. I helpfully pulled the chair out of the way for him and simply told him my bag was just inside could I grab it. He immediately asked what sort of bag which had me worried, I naively answered "A blue one." He pushed the door open and I flew down the steps grabbed the bag and was half way up the street within seconds.
I talked with some of the girls and guys who were let out, (mamasans and off duty managers)to gain a clearer picture of what was going on. Basically they were looking for managers and the owner along with any underage girl. I spoke to a girl who was so nervous after getting out she was shaking and almost stuttering. She told me what they were doing was taking each girls name and age down on paper and then interviewing them. Any girl over the age of 20 was allowed to leave, also most customers were allowed to leave except the ones without any photo IDs or that were somehow suspect. After an hour I knew they still had Hollywood and the manager, I soon learnt that everyone inside was told that if they were seen txting phones would be confiscated. Girls continued to trickle out one and two at a time but no more guys yet. However then one of the manager came walking out who ran into one of the off duty managers. This off duty manager relayed a lot of the above information from the manager who had made a speedy exit.
Amazingly a girl I know who was there alone as a customer got out which seemed surprising but she told me that though they were clearly older the Calypso waitresses were being held and questioned about the group owner. Additionally she said that the reason Hollywood was not out is because he was being accused of being the OIC or general manager.