By Jun Ramirez
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has deported 73 Chinese nationals arrested more than a month ago in Ilocos and Metro Manila for operating a telecom fraud business that had victimized many of their compatriots.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed the deportees boarded a chartered flight of the China Eastern Airlines Monday night which brought them from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Tianjin, China.
The BI chief said the aliens were expelled pursuant to a summary deportation order issued against them for being undesirable aliens as all of them are fugitives who are wanted for economic crimes by authorities in China.
“They are also undocumented aliens because the Chinese government already cancelled their passports,” Morente said, adding that the aliens were also blacklisted as “their continued presence here poses a risk to public interest”.
He said the mass deportation also aimed to declog the bureau’s backlog of deportation cases and hasten the implementation of deportation orders.
According to lawyer Arvin Cesar Santos, BI legal division chief, the deportees were among the more than a hundred Chinese and Taiwanese nationals arrested in raids by joint operatives of the BI and the PNP anti-cybercrime group in San Vicente, Ilocos Sur and Las Piñas City last Jan. 13.
Santos said the Chinese police sought the arrest of the suspects after they monitored some 100 internet protocol addresses in China coming from the Philippines.
The telecom fraudsters allegedly pretended to be police officers, prosecutors and judges when calling their victims in China, many of whom are rich businessmen.
“The victims were told that they had cases involving their phone numbers or bank accounts that needed to be investigated after which they would demand payment by asking that the money be transferred to the syndicate’s account,” Santos added.
Seized from the suspects during the raids were several improvised soundproof telephone cubicles, laptops, cell phones, computers, internet routers and other devices and a list of their victims.
BI investigators found that the foreigners entered the Philippines using tourist visas and had not applied for any work permits.(