Immigration bureau reports 55 foreign fugitives arrested in 2020
This file photo shows the Bureau of Immigration main office in Intramuros, Manila.
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Immigration bureau reports 55 foreign fugitives arrested in 2020

(Philstar.com) - January 19, 2021 - 3:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration on Tuesday said it arrested 55 foreign fugitives in the country in 2020, recording a significant drop in numbers as pandemic hampered operations.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente explained that due to restrictions placed due to the pandemic for a majority of the past year, the bureau’s Fugitive Search Unit conducted lesser operations against alien fugitives. In 2019, BI’s FSU arrested 420 felons, the bureau said.

But Morente said that despite restrictions, the bureau arrested “high profile fugitives wanted for serious offenses” in their home country, such as sex offenders, investment scammers, swindlers and telecommunications fraudsters.

BI FSU chief Bobby Raquepo for his part said fugitives from South Korea topped the list of those arrested with 26 fugitives. This was followed by 10 Japanese nationals, nine Americans and six Chinese nationals.

Raquepo said operatives had also arrested a British national, a Russian, a Czech and a Saudi national.

The FSU head said that fraud and economic crimes topped the violations of the arrested fugitives, followed by telecom fraud, cybercrime fraud and sexual offenses.

Among the high-profile fugitives the bureau arrested are eight Japanese nationals nabbed in a February 2020 raid who were “caught in the act of engaging in cyberfraud and voice phishing operations.”

The bureau said they were duping their fellow Japanese, many of them retired senior citizens, of millions of pesos in their scheme.

BI also said they arrested three Chinese nationals tagged as members of an organized crime syndicate that forged that seal of a hospital in China and used it to dupe their victims of more than 1.5 million US dollars.

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