BI tightens watch on crime groups from Vietnam and Cambodia

THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday ordered its frontline personnel to be extra vigilant in screening foreigners coming from Cambodia and Vietnam following a reported rise in kidnapping and extortion activities allegedly perpetrated by criminal syndicates hailing from the said Asian countries.

Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said immigration officers should refer for secondary inspection foreign nationals, particularly those coming from the two countries, who have doubtful purpose of travel to the country.

The move follows reports from local law enforcement agencies of an uptick on kidnappings and extortion activities in Metro Manila and nearby areas involving syndicates from Cambodia and Vietnam.

These kidnapping incidents were subject of an inquiry by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs last week.

The committee chaired by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa opened an inquiry due to rising reports of abduction and disappearances in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

“This is how immigration works. We look at arrival trends and look for patterns. Our partnership with other law enforcement agencies allows us to see whether there is a need to tighten measures on certain types of travelers,” Tansingco said.

Tansingco stressed that the BI’s effort to implement the advance passenger information system would allow the agency to better look at the trends and implement measures for border security.