The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police has busted a Korean cybercrime syndicate that allegedly hacked Globe Telecom’s international gateway facilities (IGF), following a raid on its four hideouts in Metro Manila.
CIDG chief Police Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr. said his unit’s Anti-Transnational and Cyber Crime Division arrested eight Koreans and seven Filipinos on a complaint from the telecom giant. They were charged with violation of the Access Devices Law, he said.
Police Cyber Crime Division chief Gilbert Sosa said the group allegedly hacked lines for international calls of Globe Telecom and rerouted them to mostly South Korean users living in the Philippines, charging them less than half the normal international call rates of 11-15 cents per minute.
The raids follow the arrest last week of another South Korean who allegedly hacked into the international gateway of Globe’s chief rival, Smart Communications.
“The recent arrests of Korean and Filipino suspects demonstrate the need for a tougher law to deal with new challenges in the fight against cybercrime,” Pagdilao said in a statement, noting that cybercrime was “developing faster” than the laws intended to prevent it.
Pagdilao identified the Korean suspects as Kwang Ming Song, 27; Junggyn Yang, 30; Jung Dongchan alias Kevin Jeong, 24; Eun Young Bae, Kim Tae Hyung alias Martin Kim, Sehun Park, Choi Jong-Seok alias Edward Choi, and Jinwan Kim alias Liam Jin.
The other suspects were identified as Marcela de la Paz, Chachin La Evidia Bornales, Christine Joy Gicale Carondoy alias Joya, 18; Joan Gicale Turno alias Queennie, 19; Jazzy Romero de la Cruz, 20; Jessa Grande Llaguno, 18; and Michelle Cambe Nacional, 26.
The CIDG raided the syndicate’s alleged hideouts at Tower A, Renaissance 3000 Building on Meralco Avenue, Ortigas, in Pasig City; Pearl of the Orient Tower on Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila; North Tower, Lee Garden condominium on Laurel Street, Mandaluyong City; and Royal Plaza Twin Towers, Malate, Manila.
Sosa said the CIDG investigated the case after Globe Telecom complained that the suspects had been hacking its IGF and rerouted international calls as local calls.
Sosa said such operations were illegal since they deprive the government of revenues. “To the prejudice of Globe Telecom, unbilled international calls were being charged and rerouted as mere local calls,” he said.
The suspects used GSM (Global System of Mobile Communication) gateway hardware and application in their illegal activities, Sosa said. The hardware is an apparatus connected to the computers which have a software capable of rerouting international calls, he added.
Sosa said his team confiscated from the suspects several computers, network hubs, GSM modems, and two vehicles—a black Hyundai Tucson and a silver Toyota Camry—which yielded bundles of unused SIM (subscriber identity module) cards for Globe and Touch Mobile.
Last week, CIDG antifraud operatives also arrested Korean citizen Hak Mo Kim in Mandaluyong for allegedly hacking the IGF franchise of Smart Communications. With a report from AP