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“I have nothing to fear” – Kazuo Okada returns to Philippines despite lawyer warnings

Kazuo Okada has re-entered the Philippines to fight charges of grave coercion placed against him, for his forceful takeover of the Okada Manila casino on 31 May 2022. 

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Okada made the journey back to the Philippines on 17 October, on Japan Airlines flight JL 77, despite warnings from his lawyers that he may face immediate arrest upon his arrival to the country.

These warnings were justified, as Okada was arrested upon landing in the country. However, Okada has since posted bail as he plans to defend himself against legal charges.

The Philippines Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Okada and three of his associates – Antonio O. Cojuangco, Dindo A. Espeleta and legal counsel Attorney Binkey Herrera III – over the much-documented takeover of the Okada Manila earlier this year. 

Upon his return to the country, Okada released a statement in which he launched a staunch defence of himself. 

He said: “I insisted on coming back to the Philippines despite several warnings from my lawyers that I may be detained by the authorities. I want to show the Filipino people and the world that I am not afraid. I came back to face this “grave coercion” charge against me and my associates.  

“I have nothing to fear when I know I am standing on the right side of the law. I will not bow down to intimidation, and I will not back off from this legal battle. This fight isn’t over.” 

Okada also let it be known that despite the “relentless intimidation” and “trumped-up” charges filed by Hajime Tokuda, director at Universal Entertainment and Tiger Resorts Asia, this could not stop him from pursuing his responsibilities as Chairman of Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment (TRLEI).  

Per the Status Quo Ante Order awarded to Okada by the Philippines Court of Appeals in April 2022, he is now legally bound to the position despite the wishes of TRLEI’s parent Universal.  

Okada added: “The DOJ legal panel has already dismissed, for lack of merit, the six other charges of kidnapping, unjust vexation, falsification of public documents, direct assault, slight physical injuries and serious illegal detention.  

“Today, I will post bail for my temporary freedom. I have given instructions to my legal team to avail of all legal remedies to ensure that those who fooled and robbed me in Okada Manila be sent to jail for their lies, deceit and usurping operational control.” 

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