GOVERNMENT agents have busted an online mail-order bride syndicate run by a Chinese in Cebu City over the weekend that resulted in the arrest of two suspects and the rescue of thirteen victims.
Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) executive director, Chief Supt. Reginald Villasanta, identified the arrested suspects Mei Yi, a call center owner and Joy Vitor, a call center manager.
Villasanta said the two were arrested by government agents at the office of Filipina Heart Internet Consultant, reportedly own by the Chinese, on No. 7 Calderon Compound, Banawa Cebu City.
The operations were carried out jointly by operatives of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), an agency under the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“We have busted a Chinese-led syndicate which arranges marriage of Filipinas to foreign clients thru the Internet. This is actually another version of a mail-order bride scheme but this time, the syndicate is involved in trafficking in persons,” Villasanta said.
The PAOCC official said the syndicate’s modus operandi was to arrange the marriage through the Internet and it earned money by asking their foreign clients to make their payments through their credit accounts.
Besides the arrest of two suspects, 13 victims, mostly females, were rescued and 35 computer sets containing sexy photographs of Filipinas looking for foreign partners and different online equipment were seized during the raid.
“They allow their foreign clients, mostly businessmen from Western countries, to access their account and view sexy Filipina models and once a prospective wife was found, the syndicate arranges his Philippine trip to meet his future wife in person,” Villasanta said
The PAOCC said the operation in Cebu City was part of Operation Jolly Cupid conducted in line with the government’s campaign against on-line child and women pornography.
The suspects are now facing charges for violation of Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.