The Bureau of Immigration (BI) intercepted two foreign fugitives attempting at the country’s airports before the end of the year.
A South Korean, identified as Yoon Suk Bae, 43, was intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 last December 28 after having been found to be the subject of an Interpol alert. Yoon was reportedly wanted in his home county for violation of article 347 of the Criminal Law of South Korea, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Yoon attempted to enter the country via a Qatar Airways flight from Doha, but was immediately excluded and sent back to his country of origin.
Intercepted on New Year’s eve was an Antigula and Barbuda national identified as Wang Lingling, 49, who attempted to depart to Tokyo, Japan via a Philippine airlines flight.
Wang was found to be a fugitive from China, with an existing warrant for occupational embezzlement issued by the Xuzhou Municipal Public Bureau in 2017.
She was denied boarding, and was transferred to the BI’s Warden Facility in Taguig pending deportation.
BI ready to implement restrictions for travelers from China
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said that its officers at the different airports and seaports, are ready to implement possible travel restrictions for passengers flying in from China.
The statement comes after reports of another Covid-19 surge in the Chinese region, prompting countries to consider once again implementing travel bans.
“We take the cue from the DOH, the IATF, and the Office of the President on implementing travel restrictions,” said BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco. “While we have not received any directive yet about it, we are ready at any time to implement any such measures that the government deems appropriate to prevent another surge in the Philippines,” he added.
It can be recalled that at the height of the pandemic, the BI implemented country-specific travel bans to prevent the entry of certain Covid-19 variants.
The BI also reported that only 30,002 Chinese tourists have entered the country for 2022.
“Chinese nationals used to take the second highest spot in the number of arrivals in the country, next to South Koreans,” said Tansingco. “But during the pandemic, due to travel bans both here and in their home country, the number has drastically dropped,” he shared.
The number is only 0.48% of the BI’s total recorded arrivals of more than 6.1 million travelers in 2022.