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29-year-old Pinoy bound for Thailand to work illegally barred from leaving NAIA 3

Bienvenido Castillo III and Norman Tansingco
I-PROBES Chief Bienvenido Castillo III receives an award from BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco for his outstanding performance of duties. (JERRY S. TAN)

A 29-year-old male trafficking victim said to be attempting to depart for Thailand to work illegally was barred from leaving by officers of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) last April 22 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

According to BI-protection and border enforcement section (I-PROBES) chief Bienvenido Castillo III, the male victim initially claimed to be traveling alone as a tourist for a short vacation in Thailand and even presented a Cebu Pacific roundtrip ticket and identification cards claiming that he is employed in a manpower agency in the Philippines.

Castillo said the primary inspection officer noted inconsistencies in his statement and referred him for secondary inspection.

During verification, it was found out that the victim presented a fake return ticket, which prompted him to admit that he has no plans of returning and will instead proceed to Chiang Rai, Thailand to illegally work in an online gaming company.

Castillo said that the victim admitted that he was contacted through Telegram by a female recruiter, who enticed him to depart under such circumstances. The victim also said that he paid a total of P30,000, and was promised a job with a monthly salary of $1,200.

This, according to Castillo, could be another case of catphishing, wherein victims are promised work in online gaming companies but end up forced to be scammers abroad.

One common modus that they have noted is that victims are made to pretend to be working locally for the manpower agencies that recruited them, he added.

Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that the problem of catphishing masked as online gaming companies is already a big problem in the Asian region.

Tasingco said the modus invites aspiring employees to work in call centers or online gaming companies, only to be made to work as catphishers, targeting western men in online dating apps and tricking them into investing in fake cryptocurrency accounts.

During conferences with neighboring countries, the same problem has been reported too, he added.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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