About 13 Filipinos were barred from leaving the country and going to Hong Kong after it was found out that their boarding passes were fake.
According to Grifton Medina, chief of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Port Operations Division, they have intercepted six women and seven men at the Cathay Pacific check-in counter of Terminal 3 inside Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The Filipino passengers presented their boarding passes and the Cathay Pacific personnel found out that it was fake. They turned them over to the Bureau of Immigration (BI). According to the airline, the names of the passengers were not in the flight and their tickets were not even issued by the airline.
“It seems the 13 passengers are victims of scammers who prey on the public by selling fake tickets at cheap prices to entice their victims,” says Medina.
The poor passengers only knew that they were scammed by the time the airline informed them that their boarding passes were not in their system.
During an interview, they claimed that their female companion was the one who encouraged them to buy those cheap tickets.
Meanwhile, the woman said that she didn’t know that those tickets were fake as they were only given to her by a certain “Jennifer”. She met Jennifer thrice and was instructed to give the plane tickets to her companions.
BI-TCEU chief Timotea Barizo also confirmed that some of the hotel bookings of those passengers were cancelled. They were also instructed to wear a t-shirt of a certain herbal product that they are required to take off once they are cleared by the Immigration.
“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?” the BI chief said.
Barizo also thinks that the victims were promised a job abroad.
“There were too many inconsistencies in their statements and documents,” Barizo 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).
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