Immigration officials foil human smuggling attempt

OFFICIALS of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) foiled a human smuggling attempt of nine Indian nationals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 on Wednesday, June 5.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the Indians were caught upon their arrival at the NAIA from Hong Kong.

The illegal aliens, who claimed to be seafarers from Mumbai, were identified as Chinchorkar Udayan Raju, Surjit Singh, Kari Ram Kiran, Tandel Gatiraj narsinhbhai, Jaspreet Singh, Gore Chetan Vinod, Toppo Clinson Christophar, Varinder Singh, and Amandeep Singh.

BI port operations division chief Marc Red Mariñas said that all nine Indians had presented fake single entry visa-upon-arrival (Sevua), instead of valid seaman's visa required by law.

The Sevua could be obtained only from a Philippine Consulate abroad.

"Verification made with the concerned BI offices confirmed that their visas were not issued by the bureau. These were later found to have been fraudulently manufactured as it contained dubious letterheads and transaction reference numbers, as well as bogus signatures and barcodes," Mariñas said.

Mariñas added that the Indian nationals also lied before the immigration officials when they said they were legitimate seamen who were about to join a ship at the Batangas port.

Upon investigation, the BI found out that their claims were false, as the ship was already in Singapore and its officers were not notified of the Indian nationals' supposed arrival.

Morente said the Indians were immediately sent back to their country of origin and were placed under the BI's blacklist after their arrest for being undesirable aliens said Morente.

Morente said they will investigate whether BI employees were involved in the foiled human smuggling try. (SunStar Philippines)

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