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SC stops transfer of Korean fugitive

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MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has stopped a Manila regional trial court from implementing its order allowing the transfer of custody of a wanted Korean national from the immigration bureau to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The high court spokesman, Theodore Te, on Wednesday said the high court issued last Tuesday a temporary restraining order, enjoining two orders of Judge Paulino Gallegos of Branch 41 of the Manila RTC in the case involving Korean national Ja Hoon Ku “until further orders.”

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The lower court last Jan. 28 ordered Ku’s release to the Philippine National Red Cross (PRC) chair Richard Gordon and for the PNP to extend protection to Ku’s family. On Jan. 29, the judge issued a second order, this time directing Ku’s transfer from the custody of the Bureau of Immigration to the PNP.

The high tribunal directed the immigration bureau to retain custody of Ku.

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Ku was the subject of a notice of the International Police for alleged arbitrary spending of the reserve funds of Phildip Korea Co. Ltd. The Korean Embassy had asked the bureau to immediately arrest and deport Ku to Korea. Ku was arrested last Jan. 16 and detained at the BI detention center.

But Ku filed a petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo with interim remedies. Judge Gallegos mandated the filing of a return to the writ within 72 hours and also heard the temporary protection order sought by Ku.

It was Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison who had gone to the high court to question the Manila RTC judge’s orders.

In a related development, police anticybercrime agents have arrested 10 South Koreans for allegedly operating an illegal online gambling site in a posh apartment in Taguig.

Senior Supt. Gilbert Sosa, head of the PNP’s anticybercrime group, said the eight men and two women were caught Tuesday inside two separate units in an upscale condominium.

The raid stemmed from a request from South Korean authorities for help in locating eight fugitives who allegedly fled Seoul and moved their illegal online gambling operation to the Philippines, Sosa said. The gambling site receives payments from Korean bettors via online banking and credit cards.

Sosa said two of the men arrested were among those wanted in Seoul, and phones, identification cards, computers and network devices were among the items seized.

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They were arrested on the strength of a search warrant issued by a Manila judge for violating the Philippines’ illegal gambling laws and regulations on the use of access devices for commercial transactions.

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TAGS: court, fugitive, Immigration, Korea, Philippines, Supreme Court
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