The Bureau of Immigration has deported 73 Chinese people involved in a telephone scam that targeted their wealthy countrymen.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the deportees, who were arrested more than a month ago in Ilocos and Metro Manila, boarded a flight to Tianjin at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Monday, February 26.
The BI chief said the men were all wanted for economic crimes by authorities in China.
“They are also undocumented aliens because the Chinese government already cancelled their passports,” Mr Morente said, adding that the aliens were also blacklisted as “their continued presence here poses a risk to public interest”.
He said the mass deportation also aimed to unclog the bureau’s backlog of deportation cases and hasten the implementation of future deportation orders.
Lawyer Arvin Cesar Santos, BI legal division chief, said the deportees were among the more than a hundred Chinese and Taiwanese people arrested in raids by joint operatives of the BI and the PNP anti-cybercrime group in San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, and Las Piñas City on January 13.
Mr Santos added that the Chinese police sought the arrest of the suspects after they monitored some 100 internet protocol addresses in China coming from the Philippines.
The telecom fraudsters allegedly pretended to be police officers, prosecutors and judges when calling their victims in China, many of whom were wealthy businessmen.
“The victims were told that they had cases involving their phone numbers or bank accounts that needed to be investigated after which they would demand payment by asking that the money be transferred to the syndicate’s account,” Mr Santos explained.
Seized from the suspects during the raids were improvised soundproof telephone cubicles, laptops, cell phones, computers, internet routers and a list of their past and potential victims.
BI investigators found that the men entered the Philippines using tourist visas and had not applied for any work permits.