Philippines arrest 52 nationals of China, Taiwan

Philippines police have arrested 40 Chinese and 12 Taiwanese nationals, including 14 women, at a resort in Vigan, a city in the northern Philippine province of Ilocos Sur, who were found with several electronic and computer gadgets and accessories believed to be tools for cybercrime operations.
The foreigners, who were taken to the immigration office in Laoag City, capital of Ilocos Norte, hold authentic and valid passports, but police said they could not explain the purpose of their almost two-month visit in the Philippines and several communication gadgets found in their possession.
“Hundreds of Chinese and Taiwanese nationals have been arrested in different parts of the country while dozens deported over the past several months because of their involvement in cybercrime and credit card fraud,” Vera Files, a non-profit online news portal, said on Tuesday in a report.
Many of these arrested are facing criminal charges for violating government regulations on access devices, as well as due to the illegal possession of electronic gadgets and blank credit cards they used in fraudulent activities.
The 52 foreigners arrested in Vigan had six other companions who managed to slip out before the composite team of police and other government agencies returned to their rented rooms at Mom’s Courtyard, in Vigan’s Barangay Bongtolan, on Monday evening following an inspection they conducted in the morning. 
Melbert Tolentino, counsel for the 52 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals, said he would be forced to file illegal detention and coercion charges against the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and Philippine National Police (PNP) should they continue to detain his clients without formal charges.
The arrested foreigners, who refused to be interviewed, are now held at a hotel in Laoag City under the close watch of the police, as the main BI office in Manila decides on their case.


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