Operatives of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) arrested last year a total of 55 foreign fugitives wanted for serious crimes in their homelands despite the corona virus pandemic.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the fugitives were nabbed in various parts of the country by elements from the bureau’s fugitive search unit (FSU) which conducted surveillance and operations for the wanted foreigners.
Morente also said that due to quarantine restrictions set in place during the most part of the year, there were lesser operations conducted against alien fugitives last year, thus the number of arrests was lower than the 420 felons arrested by FSU in 2019.
“Despite the challenges that the pandemic has brought to us, we still managed to apprehend high profile fugitives wanted for serious offenses by authorities in their home countries,” the BI chief said.
He disclosed that those arrested included sex offenders, investment scammers, swindlers, and telecommunications fraudsters.
According to Bobby Raquepo, chief of the BI FSU, arrests on foreign fugitives are conducted with cooperation with foreign counterparts, who inform them of the crimes committed by the wanted aliens.
The BI-FSU reported that 26 South Koreans topped the list of those arrested, followed by 10 Japanese nationals, nine Americans, and six Chinese nationals. Also arrested were a Briton, a Russian, a Czech, and a Saudi national.
Raquepo said fraud and economic crimes topped the crimes committed by these fugitives, followed by telecom fraud, cybercrime fraud, and sexual offenses.
Among the high profile fugitives arrested were eight Japanese nationals who were rounded up on February during a raid of their room at a Laguna resort where they were caught in the act of engaging in cyberfraud and voice phishing operations.
The suspects allegedly scammed their Japanese victims, many of them retired senior citizens, of millions of pesos through their fraudulent racket.
BI-FSU operatives also arrested in Manila on January year three Chinese nationals tagged as members of an organized crime syndicate that forged the seal of a hospital in China and used it to defraud their victims of more than US$1.5 million.