Immigration Bureau nabs 3 South Korea’s fugitives wanted for online scams

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 14, 2021   •   231

MANILA, Philippines—Three of South Korea’s most wanted fugitives were arrested by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) fugitive search unit (FSU) on Tuesday (April 13).

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the three aliens were arrested in operations conducted in Parañaque City and Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

They were identified as Jung Myunghun, 38, allegedly the syndicate’s top leader; Yu Daewoong, 38, and Kang Wesung, 36, also a leader of the group.

Morente said these fugitives are high-profile criminals long sought by Korean authorities and Interpol.

Based on criminal records, since July 2014, the suspects perpetrated online scams by uploading and advertising items on online second-hand markets, duping victims into purchasing products that turned out to be non-existent.

Their passports have also been revoked, making them undocumented aliens.

“Korean authorities uncovered thousands of cases—almost 2,600—wherein victims have been defrauded by the suspects. It is estimated that victims incurred a combined loss of more than 10 billion won, or close to US$9 million, from the syndicate’s racket,” according to the BI.

Morente said the suspects will be deported to face the cases against them in Korea.

“Their names shall likewise remain in our blacklist, which effectively bans their re-entry in the country,” the BI chief said. AAC

More than 1,200 BI frontliners to get COVID-19 vaccine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday announced it will roll out the COVID-19 vaccination for its frontline workers this weekend.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said they are looking to inoculate a total of 1,250 immigration personnel starting this April 24 to 25.

Immigration personnel eligible for vaccination will receive government-procured Sinovac’s CoronaVac jab, which will be administered in two doses in an interval of 28 days.

A pre-screening will be conducted on the medical history of the officers to determine those who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

“We have scheduled vaccination of our eligible employees on a weekend so as not to hamper our daily operations,” Morente said.

Adhering to the priority list given by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the BI will start vaccinating employees who are senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.

“The continuous rise of COVID-19 cases accentuates the need to vaccinate our frontliners, especially those belonging in the most vulnerable group such as the seniors and persons with co-morbidities. We want to assure their safety from the threat of the deadly virus,” Morente shared.

BI Deputy Commissioner and Chairperson of the bureau’s COVID-19 Task Force Aldwin Alegre said that despite vaccine rollout among immigration officers, they will continue to implement basic health protocols such as wearing face masks and face shields, maintaining physical distancing, and checking body temperatures.

“Our frontliners are one of the most exposed and have a high risk of contracting the highly transmissible virus. As such, we will continue to make sure that all health protocols are being followed,” Alegre said.

“I am confident that as our officers get their jabs, we will be able to carry out our mandate better and with less worry,” he added.

The BI has so far recorded 300 COVID-19 infections among its personnel.

Immigration Bureau arrests 36 foreign nationals during illegal gambling operations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) arrested 36 foreign nationals during a massive illegal gambling operation at the Double Dragon Plaza Tower 3 in Pasay City on Monday (April 19).

According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, they received reports of foreign nationals working without appropriate permits.

An investigation was conducted and has verified that the company is unlicensed and is not authorized to operate.

The 36 foreigners consist of 2 Chinese nationals, 2 Indonesians, and 32 Koreans.

BI Intelligence Chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr. reported that the company was discovered to be engaged in illegal live studio gambling.

“Apart from the live studio, they were also conducting illegal and clandestine online gaming operations,” he said.

“We initially rounded up 40 individuals but found 4 of them to be sufficiently documented, being permanent residents in the country. However, the other 36 were unable to present their passports and visas, and were caught in the act of working illegally,” he added.

Morente warned illegal aliens not to commit illegal activities.

“We call on all foreigners to legalize your stay,” said Morente. “Do not take advantage of the pandemic, because despite the challenges, our work never stops, and we will continue to arrest, deport, and blacklist any alien who dares to disobey our laws,” he warned. AAC

OFWs in South Korea given one-year extension of stay

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in South Korea who are under the Employment Permit System (EPS) and whose contract term expires within the period April 13, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021 are given an extension of stay to one more year.

The policy, which took effect April 13, allows foreign workers to remain in the country given the prevailing condition brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Labor Attaché Maya Valderrama of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Korea in a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the said issuance from South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is in line with the relevant amendment to the Act on Employment of Foreign Workers.

The issuance provides that the stay and employment period of foreign workers (E-9 and H-2) under the EPS and whose employment period (three years or four years and 10 months) expires from April 13 to December 31, 2021 is extended for one year.

Valderrama said the Korean government expects this measure will resolve the difficulties of workers entering and leaving the country during the pandemic.

This will also help in the manpower shortage of small and medium-sized companies.

Bello thanked the Seoul government for the move that will benefit hundreds of workers in Korea.

“We welcome this unprecedented employment measure extended by the Republic of Korea (ROK) to our EPS workers especially during this time of the pandemic. The preservation of jobs of our OFWs everywhere in the world is our primordial concern, and this development highlights the value of our 15 years of continuing bilateral cooperation on labor with the ROK,” Bello said in a news release on Sunday.

The extension period of stay and employment also applies to EPS workers who have been given a 50-day visa extension by ROK’s authorities, provided that the extended period also falls within the period April 13 to December 31, 2021.

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