Raps filed vs 8 Chinese nabbed in Bulacan ‘fake cigarette’ warehouse

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2019   •   1619

Local authorities on Friday (May 17) filed charges against eight Chinese nationals who were arrested in a warehouse that allegedly manufactures fake cigarettes in Marilao, Bulacan.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) lodged serious illegal detention charges and other raps against the still unidentified Chinese nationals for purportedly holding more than 80 workers at the storage house and forcing them to manufacture fake cigarettes.

“‘Yan yung pumasok sa element na serious illegal detention, kasi detention ‘yan. ‘Pag may worker ka, dapat pinalalabas mo, unang-una to feel fresh, walang fresh air sa loob,” said NBI Bulacan chief Noel Bocaling.

The foreign suspects were nabbed on Thursday after the NBI teamed up with local police to launch an operation inside a compound in Barangay Patubig. Around 87 workers who were recruited from North Cotabato were rescued by the operatives.

Authorities raided the area after receiving information from one of the workers who managed to sneak out of the warehouse.

One of the rescued workers, Jonathan Garcia, said they have been subjected to forced labor for many months after he and his companions were lured by a false promise of high pay.

“Marami kami pagpunta namin sa Maynila 20 kami. Sabi nila, maganda daw ang pasahod,” said Garcia, adding that they were promised to be given P10,000 worth of salary each month.

Renato Kalaman, who was also among those rescued from the warehouse, said they were made to work day and night without proper wages and benefits. They also had no idea they were making counterfeit cigarette products.

“Hindi ka makakita ng araw, ‘pag umaga madilim. Peke o orig talaga sigarilyo, di namin alam kasi di kami marunong,” he said.

The workers are now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for processing and documentation before they are sent back home. They will also receive a financial assistance worth P5,000 each.

Authorities are still working on identifying the owner of the said warehouse where more than P1-billion worth of fake cigarette products and machines used in manufacturing cigarettes were confiscated. More than P1-million pieces of fake cigarette product seals were also recovered. (with details from Nestor Torres)

House panel to look into $1.02-B cash brought in by Chinese nationals

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 2, 2020

The House committee on ways and means is set to look into the $1.02 billion in cash allegedly brought in by Chinese nationals in an alleged money laundering scheme.

Committee panel chairman Albay Rep. Joey Salceda called on a closed-door session on Tuesday (March 3) to discuss the issue.

Salceda approved the motion of Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing to conduct an investigation on the $160.58 million in cash allegedly brought into the country by Chinese citizens from December 2019 to February 2020.

However, Salceda said there is $840 million that entered the country through Customs.

“The $160 million that was reported is just a tip of the iceberg. Based on our reports, I have seen that on top of $160 million, there was $840 million that entered last year through Customs through the airports,” he said.

“There is an obvious and apparent use of the power of the Customs covering portable commodities and declaring it without passing through the banking system. Otherwise, this would have had red flags all over the place already. The thing there, it’s $1.02 billion, not $160 million,” Salceda added.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

BI says Chinese top list of barred foreigners in 2019

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese nationals top the list of foreigners who were barred from entering the Philippines in 2019 after they were found lacking documents or ineligible to enter or stay in the country, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported on Thursday.

BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said around 3,527 Chinese were denied entry last year, followed by 488 Vietnamese.

Some 329 Indonesians and 255 Malaysians were also among those prohibited to enter and stay in the Philippines.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said a total of 7,724 foreigners were barred from entering the country in 2019 or 65 percent higher than the 4,679 aliens who were turned back in ports in 2018.

“They were turned back by immigration officers who, after the conduct of primary and secondary inspection, found that they were improperly documented, or ineligible to enter and stay in the Philippines,” Morente said in a statement.

He added that the aliens were immediately booked on the first available flight to back to their port of origin.

He also stressed that immigration officers have the authority to assess and decide if an arriving foreign national is eligible to be admitted into the country as a temporary visitor.

“A foreigner may be excluded if he is improperly documented, or the immigration officer deems that his presence or stay here is inimical to the national interest and public welfare,” Morente said.

The bureau also said that nearly two-thirds of the excluded aliens were tagged as likely to become public charges, or persons whose reasons for entry to the Philippines is doubtful, lacks the means to support their stay in the country, and were unable to explain their purpose in traveling to the Philippines.

“The others who were turned back were improperly documented aliens, convicted sex offenders, rude passengers, blacklisted foreigners, and those without entry visas,” it said.

PNP-AKG rescues 3 Chinese nationals from kidnap-for- ransom group

Maris Federez   •   December 14, 2019

The Philippine National Police-Anti Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) has confirmed the rescue of three Chinese nationals from a kidnap for ransom group in Bacoor, Cavite on Friday (December 13).

The victims, namely, Pham ThiTu, Zhang Juanzi, Shen Wenhui were allegedly raped by the suspects who are also Chinese nationals.

The rescue led to the arrest of the six suspects.

A statement sent to the media on Saturday said PNP-AKG teams led by PMaj. Cesar Nuñez Jr and PMaj. Edgar Pablico, together with the PNP Bacoor under PLtCol. Villaflor Bannawagan conducted the rescue after receiving reports from the partners of the victims.

The first complaint came from Huafeng Du on Dec. 12 regarding the abduction of his girlfriend, Pham.

He said the kidnappers demanded 200,000 RMB in exchange for the release of his girlfriend.

The second complaint was filed by Chang Hsiang Hao on December 11, reporting that his girlfriend Zhang Juanzi left on December 10 at around 11:00 PM but has not returned home since.

He said he received a WeChat message from the victim’s account on December 11 asking for Php 700,000 which he sent through an online payment app. However, the kidnapper did not release the victim but demanded instead for another Php 700,000 on December 12.

The third victim named Shen Wenhui was abducted inside Okada Hotel at around 10:00 in the evening on December 12 and was brought to the said place in Bacoor, Cavite. /mbmf

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