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BI nabs Koreans wanted for telecom and wire fraud

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TWO fugitives sought by South Korea and the United States for their involvement in fraud-related activities were apprehended by the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco confirmed that Kwon Junyoung, 38, and Seok Jongmin, 48, were arrested last Saturday in Brgy Cuayan, Angeles City, Pampanga by operatives from the BI’s fugitive search unit (FSU) under Rendel Ryan Sy.

The operation was conducted in collaboration with Korean authorities, government intelligence groups, and the Angeles City Police Station.

Tansingco said Kwon is wanted for telecommunications fraud in South Korea while Seok is wanted in Texas for engaging in wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

“They will soon be deported to Korea and the US as a summary deportation orders were already against them by the BI board of commissioners,” said Tansingco.

Information obtained from the Interpol’s national central bureau (NCB) in Manila revealed that Kwon was issued an arrest warrant by the Suwon district court in Korea on Dec. 12, 2019.

Prosecutors alleged that Kwon is a member of the telecom fraud syndicate based in Dalian, China that made random calls to victims through a scheme known as voice phishing.

The victims were reportedly harassed and duped into depositing their money into the syndicate’s accounts as the callers pretended to be investigators of the Seoul central prosecutor’s office.

On the other hand, the NCB disclosed that Seok is subject of an arrest warrant issued by the US district court in Western Texas where he is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

Seok allegedly conspired with other suspects in using stolen personal identifiable information (PII) of thousands of US military veterans to access websites of the US Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs which caused the victims to lose their benefits.

Sy reported that Seok was arrested after posting bail at the Angeles City regional trial court where he was charged with robbery extortion and will be transferred to the BI’s facility in Bicutan, Taguig.

Kwon will remain in the custody of the Angeles City police due to his ongoing local case, but will continue to be under the BI’s legal custody for deportation proceedings.

They were also placed in the bureau’s blacklist of undesirable aliens, thus they are now banned from re-entering the Philippines, the BI chief added.