THREE FOREIGN nationals — two South Koreans wanted for telecommunications fraud and a Chinese national charged with economic crimes — were arrested by Philippine immigration officers last week. 

The Bureau of Immigration (BI), in a statement dated Feb. 21, reported the arrest of two South Korean fugitives in Makati City and in Pampanga last Thursday and Friday. 

The Chinese, meanwhile, was caught in Mandaluyong City on Friday.

Communication between BI and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), showed that the South Koreans are members of separate telecom fraud syndicates that have swindled victims of millions of dollars. 

One fugitive allegedly led a syndicate based in Sandong-sung, China while the other was a member of a group based in Tianjin, China. Their telecom fraud operations defrauded its victims of nearly $53 million dollars and $92 million dollars respectively. 

Immigration Chief Jamie H. Morente issued deportation orders against the South Koreans in 2019 and 2020 for staying in the Philippines as “undesirable aliens.” The two also have standing arrest warrants issued by two district courts in Seoul. 

The Chinese suspect, on the other hand, has a standing arrest warrant issued by Chinese authorities for alleged involvement in economic crime activities, according to Interpol’s investigation.

All three foreign fugitives are detained at the BI holding facility in Taguig while awaiting deportation. — John Victor D. Ordoñez