NBI tapped to probe cohorts of alleged fixer nabbed in BI premises
Robie de Guzman • February 22, 2021 • 287
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has ordered an investigation into the possible cohorts of an alleged fixer who was recently arrested within the bureau’s premises.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he has sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe as well the three Chinese nationals involved in the incident for the initiation of their deportation proceedings if they have committed immigration violations.
“We are coordinating with the NBI in this investigation to see if there are any cohorts inside the Bureau, and to strengthen protocols to prevent illegal fixers from extorting aliens,” Morente said in a statement on Sunday.
The move follows the arrest last Thursday of a law firm employee, identified as Vivan Lara, at the BI’s main office for alleged extortion of three Chinese nationals.
Lara was reportedly an employee of a law office accredited to transact with the bureau. But documents show that her personal accreditation already expired in January and that she is no longer authorized to transact with the BI.
Local media reports stated that Lara was arrested after allegedly receiving P900,000 marked money to process the passports and visas of the three Chinese nationals.
Morente said the arrested individual has been ordered barred from entering and transacting in any BI office, adding that a fact-finding committee has been created to look into the incident.
“We are also investigating the breach of security protocols inside the BI building, as she was able to enter despite her ID expiring last month, as well as use an office for her transaction,” he said.
“We had our men scan CCTV footage to look into possible accomplices of Lara, as well as ensure that the BI grounds are rid of fixers,” he added.
Morente also said that the accreditation of the Calalang Law Office, Lara’s alleged employer, has also been suspended indefinitely, pending the results of the investigation.
The BI stressed that it has strict protocols in place in allowing accredited entities to enter the building. Aside from an odd-even scheme for social distancing, they may only transact at designated windows.
“Only authorized personnel may enter offices. Unauthorized entry (of accredited entities) will merit revocation of accreditation,” he said.
MANILA, Philippines—Three of South Korea’s most wanted fugitives were arrested by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) fugitive search unit (FSU) on Tuesday (April 13).
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the three aliens were arrested in operations conducted in Parañaque City and Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
They were identified as Jung Myunghun, 38, allegedly the syndicate’s top leader; Yu Daewoong, 38, and Kang Wesung, 36, also a leader of the group.
Morente said these fugitives are high-profile criminals long sought by Korean authorities and Interpol.
Based on criminal records, since July 2014, the suspects perpetrated online scams by uploading and advertising items on online second-hand markets, duping victims into purchasing products that turned out to be non-existent.
Their passports have also been revoked, making them undocumented aliens.
“Korean authorities uncovered thousands of cases—almost 2,600—wherein victims have been defrauded by the suspects. It is estimated that victims incurred a combined loss of more than 10 billion won, or close to US$9 million, from the syndicate’s racket,” according to the BI.
Morente said the suspects will be deported to face the cases against them in Korea.
“Their names shall likewise remain in our blacklist, which effectively bans their re-entry in the country,” the BI chief said. –AAC
MANILA, Philippines – A Korean national wanted by authorities in his own country for swindling charges has been arrested by the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the suspect, identified as 49-year old Kim Dong Woo, was arrested in Las Piñas City on Monday by operatives from the bureau’s Fugitive Search Unit.
Morente said they learned that Kim has been on his government’s wanted list since he fled to the Philippines in February 2018 to evade prosecution on the charge of fraud he is facing.
Information from BI’s Interpol database showed that in 2015, Kim, who was then in his office in Incheon, enticed a victim to lend him 65 million won, or almost US$58,000 for his alleged business.
Kim allegedly promised the victim that he would pay a 20-percent interest for the loan.
He, however, reneged on his promise and fled to Manila two years later upon learning that a criminal complaint was filed against him.
“The Bureau recently received information about his crimes and was informed that his passport is no longer valid; hence, the Commissioner issued a mission order for his arrest so he may be sent back to his home to be prosecuted,” the BI said.
Morente said Kim will soon be returned to Korea to face the charges against him, as an order for his summary deportation was already issued last month by the BI Board of Commissioners.
“His name has been placed in our immigration blacklist; hence, any future attempts to re-enter the country will be barred,” he said.
The foreign national will be temporarily held at the BI detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City pending his deportation, the bureau said.
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is warning illegal recruiters taking advantage of former overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) amid the current employment crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was after members of the BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) at the Clark International Airport intercepted the departure of an illegal recruitment victim bound for Dubai last April 5, 2021.
The victim, whose name was not divulged following human trafficking and illegal recruitment laws, attempted to depart for Dubai via an Emirates Airlines flight.
The victim presented an overseas employment certificate (OEC) being a Balik Manggagawa, but upon checking of his documents, Immigration Officer Vanessa Icban noticed some inconsistencies and referred the matter to members of BI’s TCEU for further inspection.
Upon further checking, TCEU officer Tomas David and Vincent Serrano noted that the victim arrived in the country in 2019, and possessed a Dubai work visa.
However, after verification, it was found that his work visa has already been cancelled, and he has an active tourist visa.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente commended the efforts of the Clark immigration officers in intercepting said victim.
“I know it is a challenge to intercept such cases as they are presenting complete documents and are in the guise of being legitimate OFWs,” said Morente.
“We commend the quick eye of our immigration officers, which allowed them to uncover this modus,” he added.
In the said scheme, former OFWs whose visas and contracts have expired are given new tourist visas which allow them to depart and work illegally as tourists, using their old OEC records.
“This is an obvious circumvention of the law, and victims are promised that they can depart using their old OECs that are, in fact, invalid already,” the BI Chief said.
“Victims end up working for a different employer, or worse, fly off to a third country like Iraq or Syria,” he added.
The victim was turned over to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Labor Assistance Center Pampanga for assistance.
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