MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported on Friday that it arrested more than 2,000 illegal aliens in their crackdown against foreign nationals who violated Philippine immigration laws this year.
Of that number, 1,836 were illegal aliens arrested by BI agents while 421 were foreign fugitives arrested by the BI fugitive search unit.
In a statement, BI acting intelligence chief Fortunato Manahan Jr. revealed that most of those arrested were from China and were engaged in cyber fraud schemes or unauthorized online gaming operations.
Since opening its shores to online gaming, the Philippines has seen an influx of not only foreign customers but also foreign workers serving Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO), as well as restaurants and other establishments catering to Chinese visitors.
While government has recognized POGOs' positive effects on the economy, it has also been linked to crimes involving Chinese nationals.
Of those arrested by the BI, more than 500 were illegal Chinese workers operating in Pasay City while 300 were from establishments in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Another 342 Chinese nationals were nabbed in Quezon City for operating a telecom scam and working without permits.
Manahan said there was also an increasing number of illegal aliens in Mindanao.
“Some of those we arrested were not only illegally working there. They were also suspected of involvement in terrorism while others are wanted fugitives,” he said.