MANILA, Philippines – Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have intercepted three male passengers allegedly attempting to leave for Jeju, South Korea in the guise of being tourists.
The Bureau of Immigration’s travel control and enforcement unit (BI-TCEU) said the trio were stopped at the departure area of NAIA Terminal 1 on January 22 before they could board their flight to Hong Kong en route to Jeju.
BI-TCEU chief Ma. Timotea Barizo said the three passengers initially claimed they are working in the country and that they were going to the popular holiday destination in Korea for a vacation.
“But what sparked the curiosity of our officers is when the trio showed seemingly-spurious company IDs that… they showed as proof of local employment,” Barizo said.
The three also appeared to not know each other despite presenting themselves as traveling companions, she added.
When questioned, Barizo said the trio later admitted that they were recruited by a man they met on Facebook and who convinced them to book their flight to Korea.
“There was no assurance, however, that jobs really awaited them upon arriving in Jeju. They were just told that somebody would contact them when they arrived there,” Barizo said.
“They were promised work as radish farmers, and were offered huge salaries,” she added.
The immigration official also said the passengers have admitted they each spent P30,000 in engaging the services of a tour operator, which their recruiter said would book their flight and arrange their trip to Jeju.
“They were duped by their recruiter and travel agents who were only after their money,” Barizo added.
The men were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation, the BI said.