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India-based human-trafficking syndicate busted

First Posted 12:53:00 11/16/2010

MANILA, Philippines?A human trafficking syndicate based in India is facilitating the travel of Indian nationals through the country?s southern backdoor, immigration officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma said.

Over the week, Ledesma said immigration officers arrested six Indian nationals while trying to enter the country through the southern seaport in Tawi-Tawi without the proper documents.

The six Indian nationals are Kuldeep Singh, Sikatar Singh, Paramjit Singh, Sogi Manvinder, Dharam Singh, and Amrik Singh. They were arrested last November 5. Ledesma said they will immediately undergo deportation proceedings for entering the country without visas and for evading inspection by immigration authorities.

Lawyer Faizal Hussin, BI intelligence chief, said the Indians earlier travelled to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi via a speedboat from Semporna in Sabah, Malaysia before trying to sneak into Zamboanga.

He said the aliens apparently first went to Thailand before going to Malaysia by air as shown by the arrival stamps in their passports.

?They admitted during questioning that a human trafficking syndicate based in India facilitated their trip,? Hussin added.

Executive officer Carlito Bautista of the BI intelligence division said a certain Ashok Kumar from India recruited and arranged the aliens? travel. He said Kumar?s name appeared on the Indians? plane tickets as the one who booked their Air Asia flight from India to Malaysia.

It was the second time in three weeks that immigration officials foiled a human trafficking operation at the Zamboanga City seaport.

Last October 16, three Indian nationals were intercepted and arrested at the same port for trying to enter the country with fake Philippine visas, raising suspicions that organized crime rings were behind the human smuggling attempts.

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