THE seven Korean nationals who were earlier arrested and charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 with violating Republic Act 10364, or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, were allowed to post bail and leave the country.
NBI 7 special investigator Arnel Pura, who led the operation last March 4, said they were just informed that the passports of the Koreans were released by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) 7.
Bail was reportedly set at P52,000 each.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said she will meet officials of the NBI 7, BI 7 and the president of the Korean Association and the Korean consul general to discuss this development.
She said she wants to know if the Philippines has an extradition treaty with South Korea.
“Lawyers said if we have extradition treaty we can have them arrested because a case was already filed against them here,” she said in Cebuano.
Magpale said she received information from NBI 7 agent Jed Hife, who is a member of the Provincial Women’s Commission, that the Koreans left the country.
There was no hold-departure order issued against them, she said.
“I don’t blame BI, although we furnished them the information that the case has been filed already. But everything happened so fast. The girls were rescued and the following day we filed a case, the next day they (Koreans) posted bail, the next day they left,” Magpale told Superbalita.
Even though the accused were allowed to post bail, one of the provisions was they had to inform the court if they were leaving the country.
“They just left without telling the court,” Magpale said in Cebuano.
The vice governor said that going after the Koreans would be difficult.
As of press time, BI 7 Special Prosecutor Ronaldo Deray said he could not comment on the matter, as he was not informed about it.
Charged for trafficking were Jongnam Ham, Jongin Han, Munsu Lee, Hosik Park, Joontae Kim, Jae Gyu Kim and Dongkil Kim. There were two other Koreans who were not charged for lack of a witness.
They were arrested in a resort in Barangay Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City after allegedly tapping a syndicate to hire Filipina women as escorts.
A source who asked not to be named said the South Korean consul facilitated the return of the accused to their country. AZDL & SCG of Superbalita/With FMG