By ANTHONY IAN CRUZ
Nov. 13, 2007
Twelve Filipinos are detained in Singapore jails as part of the island-state’s crackdown on foreigners who present fake return-flight tickets at its airport immigration counters.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said “deception of immigration officials and presenting fake e-tickets is illegal and a serious offense in Singapore, as well as in the Philippines.”
Apart from serving a jail term, offenders also face a minimum two-year ban to enter Singapore, said the DFA.
DFA also reported that in the last two months, 15 other Filipinos have drawn jail terms ranging from three to ten months in connection with the racket.
“These included job seekers, pub girls who tried to extend their stay in Singapore, and a Filipino information technology professional who manufactured fake electronic tickets for Filipinos,” said the DFA, quoting the Philippine embassy in Singapore.
Ambassador to Singapore Belen Anota said the fake ticket scam is part of new schemes by human traffickers and illegal recruiters.
“To lower costs, human traffickers connive with travel agencies to issue dummy return tickets, usually from an airline different from the outbound portion, to comply with the Philippines’ immigration requirement of a roundtrip ticket for tourists. The modus operandi lowers the cost of the outbound flight. Traffickers then extract profits from their victims by compelling them to repay their spurious debts ranging from $1,200 – $6,000,” Anota said. ###