The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE, 10:25 a.m.) Security was tight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport early Wednesday morning as 291 Taiwanese arrested for allegedly running a cybercrime ring in the country were deported.
The suspects, together with 87 other foreigners, mostly Chinese from mainland China, were arrested last month in raids conducted on 20 houses in Metro Manila and nearby provinces in what is considered the biggest online fraud bust in the country.
Authorities say the suspects had links to an international syndicate involved in credit card fraud, large-scale human trafficking, and international long-distance call bypass operations that targeted mostly mainland Chinese.
The deportees, who left on two chartered flights - China Airlines flight CI 2707 and Eva Air BR 1272 -around 6:30 a.m., were fetched by agents of Taiwan’s Central Investigation Bureau from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna and assisted by officials of the Taiwan Economic Council Office (TECO) here.
One of the suspects, Xiao Ming Yu, died September 10 due to dengue fever complications, prompting TECO officials to call on local authorities to send home their citizens who were getting sick due to poor detention conditions.
At least four more Taiwanese detainees - Hong Kai Hen, 21, Chen Po Han, 29, Tsai Yo Jial, 23, and Chai Zhi Yi, 24 - have fallen ill due to poor conditions at the gymnasium where they had been held since their arrest.
Immigration spokesperson Lawyer Ma. Antonette Mangrobang said the suspects have been banned and blacklisted from entering the country.