Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport (CIA) intercepted six suspected victims of a cryptocurrency trafficking ring last January 15.
BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the six passengers were about to board a Jetstar flight to Phnom Penh last Sunday when they were barred from leaving by immigration officers who doubted the purpose of their travel.
“They gave inconsistent answers to questions fielded by our officers during interview which raised suspicions that they were merely disguised as tourists but their purpose is to work abroad,” Tansingco said in a statement.
He further said that the passengers pretended to be acquainted their companions but they could not explain how or when they came to know each other.
The BI chief disclosed that the immigration officer who cleared the passengers for departure is now being investigated and has been relieved of her post pending the results of the probe.
It was learned that the passengers were already on their way to board their aircraft after being cleared at the immigration counter when they were accosted and invited for questioning by personnel from the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU).
6 suspected victims of crypto trafficking ring rescued at CIA –BI
BI TCEU Acting Head Ann Camille Mina reported that aside from giving inconsistent statements, the passengers also presented fake return tickets for their supposed return date.
“Eventually, they admitted that they will be working in a call center in Cambodia and were recruited through Facebook,” said Mina. “They also presented fake return tickets. Eventually, they admitted that they will be working in call center in Cambodia and were recruited through Facebook,” she added.
Tansingco vowed to go after BI employees involved in trafficking rackets. “Apart from internal links, we want to also help locate and arrest those illegal recruiters that entice employees to partake in their illegal scheme, as well as exploit the vulnerability of our kababayan that they recruit. They are the root of this societal problem and they must also be arrested for this crime,” he added.
Currently, the BI is investigating at least three persons of interest in the said case.