27 of 1,316 Chinese ‘illegals’ in Clark flee from detention – BI
MANILA — Fifty-seven Chinese nationals who were among the 1,316 nabbed in Clark, Pampanga, for overstaying or working without permits, escaped from detention early Thursday amidst bribery allegations in exchange for their release.
The Bureau of Immigration said 30 of the 57 escapees have returned as of Thursday afternoon, leaving 27 foreigners still unaccounted for.
BI spokesperson Tonette Mangrobang said the 57 Chinese nationals allegedly left the Fontana Food Center at the Fontana Leisure Park, where they have been detained since last week.
“They said they left the food center to go back to their villas to get some rest,” Mangrobang said, quoting the accounts of the 30 who came back.
The Chinese embassy is trying to convince the managers of the 27 missing foreigners to advise their employees to return to the BI’s custody.
Those who returned were convinced by the embassy and their bosses to come back.
“As we speak, the embassy is convincing the managers of the 27 Chinese to bring forward their wards because they don’t have a place to go. Their passports were confiscated by the BI,” Mangrobang said.
She added that all of the 1,316 Chinese arrested last November 24 were placed in the hold-departure list and could not flee the country.
The Chinese have been detained at the Fontana Food Center by BI and police personnel since the operation on the unauthorized online gambling firm allegedly run by the Macau-based gambling tycoon Jack Lau.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II accused Lau of bribing him and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chairperson Andrea Domingo for the release of the Chinese.
Mangrobang said the BI would be open to an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the escape of the 57 Chinese.
“The (Chinese) embassy people were also mad at these 57 because all efforts are being done by the embassy and the BI to facilitate the speedy disposition and processing of their deportation cases,” she added.
The BI clarified that it has filed charges against 1,296 foreigners, ranging from overstaying, violating the conditions of their visas, and working at the unlicensed online gambling firm.
Meanwhile, Mangrobang said the BI would wait for the official report on the escape to determine if additional charges should be filed against the 57 escapees. SFM
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