PNP arrests 25 foreigners in Boracay cybercrime den
BORACAY, Philippines – At least 25 foreigners were arrested on Boracay Island on Monday, August 22, for their alleged involvement in cybercrime activities after a successful drug buy-bust operation, the chief of the Boracay Tourist Assistance Center (BTAC) said.
Senior Inspector Jess Baylon said, “prior to the arrests of Taiwanese and Chinese nationals, a shabu buy bust operation was conducted by the local police in Sitio Bulabog in Barangay Balabag at around 7 am.”
“Nagkaroon ng operasyon sa druga at gumamit tayo ng asset na marunong mag-communicate sa suspek nating Taiwanese. Nagkaroon din ng hot pursuit sa nasabing operasyon,” the police stressed (There was a drug operation and we used an asset that could communicate with the Taiwanese suspect. There was also a hot pursuit in the said operation).
“Itong suspek ay tumakbo sa loob ng bahay nila at nagkahabulan pa sa itaas. Doon nakita ng mga pulis sa second floor ng bahay ang mga suspected crystallized items, cocaine, colored tablets, ecstasy, mga syringes at injectible liquids na nakalatag sa mesa at kama.... ang iba naka-repacked na ang suspected ecstasy, ibang-iba ang kulay at shapes at ready for distribution and consumption,” Baylon said.
(The suspect ran into the house and was chased upstairs. Police found on the second floor of the house a number of crystallized items, cocaine, colored tablets, ecstasy, syringes and injectible liquids on the table and bed... some of which were repackaged, like apparent ecstasy of different colors and shapes and ready for distribution and consumption.)
The private residential house, located in the "other side of Boracay" has 4 bedrooms on the second floor and a kitchen, hallway, and bedroom on the ground floor. Police said the foreigners rented out the house compound for a year.
During the operation, some Taiwanese and Chinese nationals were also caught sleeping inside the house when the joint elements of Malay police station – spearheaded by Chief Inspector Mark Evan Salvo, BTAC and the Aklan Provincial Public Safety Company – pounced on the suspected drug pusher.
The 18 Taiwanese and 7 Chinese nationals, some of whom were women, did not resist arrest during the operation. However, the foreigners claimed they were "recruited" through the internet by a syndicate for a vacation and at the same time to work in Boracay Island.
Some foreigners further claimed they arrived in the island on August 21.
As of press time, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group from Camp Crame, as well as the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, are conducting inventory and investigation.
Baylon added, “In the ground floor, the police saw (an) undetermined number of modems, cubicles, laptops, telephones, routers, mobile phones, servers and gadgets allegedly being used in the cybercrime activities.”
“Sa ground floor, sa may hallway, doon maraming gadgets at computers na tumambad sa mga kapulisan natin. Bawal pumasok ang ibang tao sa lugar nila dahil exclusive sa kanila. Hindi ka rin makatakas dito kasi mataas ang bangin sa likod ng bahay,” Baylon added.
(On the ground floor, the police saw many gadgets and computers along the hallway. Other people were not allowed entry into their place because it was exclusive to them. You also couldn't escape from here because the cliff behind the house was steep.).
The chief of police also said, "There is no indication that we have an existing drug laboratory den here... dito lang ang bagsakan nila (this where the drugs went)... they are tasked to dispose (of) those suspected drugs in Boracay...malamang malaking sindikato ito (there's likely a big syndicate behind this)." – Rappler.com