THREE suspected "large-scale" illegal recruiters were arrested in an entrapment operation conducted by the regional office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) inside a mall in Davao City Wednesday night.

Suspects Louisa Paloma, Paz Caalim, and Catherine Alacapa, all from Davao City, reported to have recruited thousands of people since December.

NBI-Davao spokesperson lawyer Arcelito Albao said the suspects were identified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to have recruited about 10,000 people since they started their operations in December last year.

Albao said the suspects operated a recruitment agency along with three others, but those arrested are the ones accepting money from their recruits. The money were deposited to their accounts.

According to Albao, the suspects are operating in Mindanao, wherein some of their complainants were from Cagayan, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley and Calinan.

Albao said the complainants were promised jobs by the suspects in Japan, Korea, Italy, Hungary, and Vietnam where they can choose to work at Hilton Hotel for $900 salary per month, or as a dairy farmer at Prin Group with a monthly pay of P73,000.

But Albao said when the companies mentioned were contacted, they did not know any of the suspects.

Albao also said that under the recruiters' direct-hiring scheme, they will collect P8,000 or P15,000 as an initial requirement for their application and will then be asked to go to Manila to await the processing of their application.

According to the bureau's spokesperson, they have been conducting surveillance operations on the suspects since December 2014 after the POEA submitted their report against them.

"Nag-try mig entrapment kadaghan na pero kani sila lisud ma-entrap (We have tried conducting several entrapment operations but these people are difficult to entrap)," Albao said.

Albao said there are around 100 people recruited by the suspects, who are currently stranded in Manila.

He added that some 20 complainants who were recruited from Wednesday night will be part of the inquest proceeding for the filing of large-scale illegal recruitment and estafa cases before the City Prosecutor's Office against the suspects while the other complainants will be through regular filing.