CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna—Two Korean nationals and their Filipina companion were arrested after authorities busted an underworld operation that lured female job seekers into a mail-order bride scheme.
Members of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Anti-Transnational Crime Division and its Cavite team on Wednesday noon raided a house in Barangay (village) Panapaan in Bacoor City, Cavite, where the victims were reportedly asked to “show up and present themselves to the Korean recruiters,” CIDG information officer Chief Insp. Beth Jasmin said.
Chief Supt. Francisco Uyami Jr., the CIDG chief, identified in a report the arrested foreigners as Kim Yoon Seok, a 66-year-old retired South Korean soldier, Soochae Kim, 59, and a Filipina, Imelda Fabella, alias Cathy.
Police rescued 30 women, among them a 16-year-old, who were lured into the scam after they were promised jobs as factory workers or bar singers in Korea. The 16-year-old told police that she was promised marriage to a Korean who would send her to school.
The women came from different areas in the country such as Ilocos, Dumaguete City and Surigao, according to Jasmin.
Jasmin said one of the women tipped off authorities after learning that the marriage contracts being offered to the Filipino women were fake.
“It seemed the women knew about the mail-order scheme although we still treat them as victims (of exploitation),” Jasmin said in a phone interview on Thursday.
She said the women were given options to either work, by paying a P25,000 placement fee, or “to simply marry a Korean.”
Another modus, according to the victims, was that Koreans would fly into the country to spend at least 10 days with their Filipina “brides.”
“If there’s a sex-for-flight, this is like flight-for-sex,” Jasmin said, comparing the modus to the alleged sex scandal about Philippine Embassy officials demanding sex from distressed migrant workers in exchange for plane tickets back to Manila.
The authorities recovered marriage licenses and stamp pads marked with civil registry that all turned out to be from fake offices.
The suspects were detained at the CIDG facility in Camp Crame while the police are verifying the foreigners’ records at the Bureau of Immigration, Jasmin said.
They would be charged with violation of the Mail Order Bride Law and trafficking in persons, Jasmin added.