• BI warns vs human smuggling syndicate


    THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) has warned the public against a human trafficking syndicate recruiting Filipino jobseekers for work in China.

    Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the warning on Thursday after Chinese immigration authorities deported a Filipina who fell victim to the syndicate.

    The victim, whose name was withheld in compliance with the Anti-Trafficking Law, was
    arrested in China for overstaying and for working without a valid visa.

    She was detained for two months in Bejiing before being sent back to Manila.

    The victim recounted to BI officials that she and her recruiter, a Chinese woman residing in Manila, left the country for China on Oct. 15 last year.

    But upon arrival in China, she said, her recruiter left her at her workplace and returned to the Philippines without bothering to secure a visa extension or working visa for her.

    The victim sought the help of the Philippine embassy in Beijing, which provided her with a travel document that she used in returning to the Philippines.

    Morente has ordered the BI intelligence division to launch a manhunt for the Chinese woman who recruited the victim.

    He declined to reveal the suspect’s identity so as not to preempt the operation for her arrest by BI operatives.

    In another development, members of the BI’s Fugitive Search Unit (FSU) together with representatives of the South Korean Embassy in Manila arrested Tuesday night 17 South Korean fugitives inside a posh building at Ortigas Center in Pasig City.

    Morente said he had directed the legal division of the bureau to hasten the Koreans’ immediate deportation.

    In a report to Morente, FSU head lawyer Jose Carlitos Licas named the suspects based on a list provided to him by Korean Embassy liaison officer Seo Seung Hwan.

    They are Kim Minkook, Yu Doohee, Lee Byungkon, Lee Seungho, Jo Joongwon, Choi Myoungsoo, Jang Hyoungjun, Kim Hansaem, Park Sungjun, Bae Mungwon, Lee Seungho (Seungho), Lee Yungyu, Hong Ukjin, Han Sang Seo, Park Yungjin, Kim Kyungjin and Kim Tawewon.

    Licas said the suspects were “fugitives from justice after being charged with violation of the National Sports Promotion Act and conspiring and operating an illegal gambling website/den.”

    He said the arrest happened at a round 8 p.m. inside One Corporate Center.

    Verification with the bureau’s Centralized Query Support System revealed that the Korean nationals had no subsequent travel since their arrival.

    They were admitted under visa issued by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.

    “Initial information disclosed that subject Korean nationals are operating an illegal on-line gambling den at units 702 and 905 of One Corporate Center,” said Antonette Bucasas-Mangrobang, BI spokeswoman.


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