December 11, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

More than 50 Chinese arrested in Bataan to be deported soon

MORE than 50 Chinese nationals who were arrested in two separate operations in Bataan are set to be sent back to their home country, the government said on Friday.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) “will soon issue a summary deportation order against them,” Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said in a statement, referring to the 55 Chinese arrested at the Bataan Freeport Zone on Tuesday.

​The bureau’s legal division has already filed immigration violation charges against the group for being undocumented aliens and since they pose risk(s) to public safety and security, Mr. Morente said.

Once the deportation order is issued, the group will be flown back to China and their names will be placed on an immigration blacklist, preventing them from returning to the Philippines, the official said.

Of the 55 Chinese, 17 were arrested on Tuesday morning while the remaining 38 were apprehended in the afternoon of the same day. Their passports were later cancelled by Beijing that sought their deportation due to their involvement in cyber fraud and illegal cyber gambling crimes here and in China.

All 55 Chinese nationals are presently detained at the BI detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig pending deportation proceedings.

For its part, the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) clarified that the arrested persons “were not involved in any illegal transactions at the freeport area.”

In a separate statement emailed on Friday, the arrested nationals “did not have any criminal record” when they arrived and later hired by GICC, a company that provides technical support activities for online gaming and has offices in the AFAB.

At the time of their employment, they were legally employed by the GICC whose operations are all documented and allowed by the law, the AFAB said in a statement.

GICC and the AFAB were not informed of the pending cases against the 55 Chinese nationals working at the FAB, as their passports were still valid on the day of their travel to the Philippines.

“They also did not have any criminal records reported by the Chinese government when they were hired by GICC. The issue of their deportation and detention warrants are purely matters of the Chinese government and do not have any connection with the operations of GICC and the AFAB,” the agency said. “There are also no illegal online activities at the FAB.” -- RAB