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BI linked to trafficking of Pinoys in Myanmar

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel were linked to trafficking of Filipinos who were forced into cryptocurrency investment scams in Myanmar, Sen. Risa Hontiveros disclosed yesterday.

During the hearing of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, Hontiveros presented a witness, who was illegally recruited to work in a telemarketing company in Thailand.

“Later on, the victim learned that it was, in fact, for a fake cryptocurrency company in Myanmar,” Hontiveros said.

The witness said his recruiter, Laisa Magallanes, told him that an “escort” from the BI would help expedite his departure at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

He said P30,000 would be deducted from his salary in exchange for the escort service.

“It’s like pastillas scam part 2, but worse. Are airport security and BI personnel involved in this scheme? Are the illegal recruiters in the pockets of the BI officials?” Hontiveros said.

“Without going through the immigration counter, his passport was stamped with the official BI exit. Someone gave him a fake ID to pretend to be a BI employee. Afraid of being caught, he declined the process,” she added.

In a privilege speech last week, Hontiveros said at least 12 Filipinos were promised jobs in Thailand, but were trafficked into Myanmar to become crypto scammers for a Chinese crime ring based in Shwe Kokko.

BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION

CRYPTOCURRENCY

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