Representatives of the Chinese student who threw a soy pudding at a policeman have accused the Bureau of Immigration of abducting her.
Jiale Zhang was forcibly detained by immigration personnel yesterday (February 12), prompting her legal counsel to consider filing a complaint.
Speaking today, lawyer Sandra Respall said: “She was literally abducted… and another thing also this procedure is illegal.”
Respall said BI personnel, who arrived at the Mandaluyong Police Station yesterday afternoon after her client had posted bail, said they needed to take Zhang with them for investigation.
“To bring Ms Zhang to the Bureau of Immigration for clarification/investigation as an undesirable alien and the issuance of a warrant-less arrest… something to that effect in that order. So I told the team leader, which is which? Are you bringing her to investigate? Are you bringing her to arrest her?”
Respall said when asked where they were taking Zhang, the BI team leader replied that they would take her to a detention facility as the preliminary investigation for her case was scheduled the following day.
When Respall refused this, the BI agents demanded Zhang’s passport and visa. “Now, what do you plan to do with her passport? Are you silly? This is Chinese government property… you have no right at all to take the passport away,” she said.
It was 10pm when Respall arrived at the BI office, where she received a call from Zhang, saying that she was already at the BI’s Bicutan detention centre.
BI spokeswoman Dana Sandoval said the complaint had no basis as the agents were following a valid mission order in connection with Zhang’s deportation case.
She added that the agents had tried to conduct the arrest “as peacefully as possible”.
In a separate press statement, Sandoval said the BI expected to resolve Zhang’s case in the “coming weeks”, adding that the 23-year-old fashion student could also face blacklisting over her soy pudding outburst.
She also clarified that Zhang’s court case and immigration case were two different matters. “Her court case will run independent from her immigration case. If found deportable, we will wait for the resolution of her court case before implementing the deportation,” she said.
On Saturday, Zhang was caught on CCTV throwing a cup of taho – soy pudding – at a police officer at a Metro Rail Transit station after he refused her entry due to a ban on liquids in trains. In an apparent fit of anger, Zhang then splashed the cup at him.
She has since apologised for her actions.