BUREAU of Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport barred 13 Filipinos from travelling to Hong Kong for carrying fake boarding passes.
BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said the 13 passengers, composed of seven men and six women, were intercepted last Monday at the airline counter of Cathay Pacific at the NAIA 3 terminal.
Medina said the passengers were turned over to the BI after Cathay Pacific personnel found out that the self-printed boarding pass they presented were not in the manifest and were not issued tickets by the airline.
“It seems that they are victims of a scammers who prey on the public by selling fake tickets at cheap prices to entice their victims,” Medina said.
He added that it was only at the airport that the passengers found out that they were scammed after the airline informed them that their boarding passes are not encoded in their system.
When interviewed by members of the BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU), the passengers pointed to one of their female companions as the one who enticed them to buy the plane tickets.
However, the woman said she also did not know that the boarding passes were fake as these were only given to her by a certain “Jennifer.”
She said she met Jennifer thrice and she was only instructed to distribute the tickets to her companions.
According to BI TCEU Chief Timotea Barizo, during the verification, they found out that some of their hotel bookings were cancelled as well.
“They were also allegedly told to wear T-shirts bearing the name of a herbal product during their trip and were instructed to take off the shirts after they are cleared by Immigration,” said Barizo.
“It was done to make it seem like they were on an official company trip abroad. Why would they be instructed to misrepresent themselves if there was no ill intention?” she added.
“There were too many inconsistencies in their statements and documents,” she said. “We suspect they may have been victimized by illegal recruiters,” she added.
The 13 passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation.