BI foils attempt to traffic 6 persons

The Bureau of Immigration intercepted six suspected victims of a trafficking syndicate at Clark International Airport last 15 January.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the six passengers were about to board a Jetstar flight bound for Phnom Penh when they were barred from leaving by a BI officer who doubted the purpose of their travel.

Tansingco said the individuals gave inconsistent answers to questions by the BI officer during a secondary interview, raising suspicions they were not tourists as they purported to be.

The BI chief the members of the group pretended to be acquainted with each other but they could not explain how or when they came to know each other.

Tansingco said the immigration officer who cleared the passengers for departure is being investigated and has been relieved of her post pending the results of the probe.

Agent clears group
The BI said the passengers were on their way to board their aircraft after being cleared at the immigration counter when they were accosted and invited for questioning by immigration personnel.

BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit or BI-TCEU acting head Ann Camille Mina said that aside from giving inconsistent statements, the supposed tourists had fake return tickets.

“Eventually they admitted that they would be working in a call center in Cambodia and were recruited through Facebook,” said Mina. “They also presented fake return tickets.”

“Apart from internal (BI) links, we want to locate and arrest those illegal recruiters that entice employees to take part in their illegal scheme and exploit the vulnerability of our kababayans that they recruit.”

“They are the root of this societal problem and they must also be arrested for this crime,” she added.

Currently, the BI is investigating at least three persons of interest in the incident.

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