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25 Koreans in scam, gambling ring held

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25 Koreans in scam, gambling ring held

NBI, BI arrest suspects in posh Makati, Pasig addresses

Authorities have arrested 25 South Koreans for alleged internet fraud and illegal online gambling operations carried out from posh addresses in Makati and Pasig cities.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday said 12 of them were wanted back home for allegedly operating an online business scam duping their compatriots into investing money in bogus real estate projects in the Philippines.

Their arrests in a posh condominium in Makati City followed the apprehension of four other South Koreans for alleged internet fraud.

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Also on Friday, the National Bureau of Investigation presented five South Korean nationals arrested for suspected online gambling operations. Earlier this week, four South Korean women were apprehended for operating a secret online casino inside a mall, the bureau said.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said an operation on Wednesday led to the arrest of 12 South Koreans at a condominium complex in Barangay Poblacion, Makati.

Information provided by the Korean Embassy said the suspects carried out their property investment scam online, targeting compatriots either in South Korea or in the Philippines.

Morente identified the suspects as Noh Heamin, Park Jeongho, Kim Sun-jang, Lee Hyanglim, Yoon Daseul, Kim Sunghoon, Jeong Miseon, Park Mingyu, Park Youngju, Park Hyunmyeung, Park Chanju, and Lee Hyunho.

Their embassy alerted the BI about their presence in the country and sought the bureau’s help to have them deported, Morente said. “(It) confirmed that all 12 of them are subjects of arrest warrants issued by various Korean courts, where they have been charged with large-scale fraud.”

Under Philippine laws, “they have been charged with undesirability for being fugitives from justice and posing a risk to public safety and security,” BI legal division chief Arvin Santos added.

At the NBI, the bureau’s Cyber Crime Division said five Koreans—Cheonji Kim, Ilhwan Yang, Wonsup Yang, Jeong Hyeok-kim and Moon Kyu-kang—were caught running an illegal online gambling facility in an exclusive subdivision in Pasig.

The suspects were operating under a company named All Hearts Inc., whose application for a license was still pending with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., according to NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin.

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Agents armed with a search warrant raided a house occupied by the suspects and seized a computer set and a router, which were found to be linked online to a “casino” inside a building still under construction in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, the official said.—WITH REPORTS FROM AP, ROSELLE ANNE SALES, CIERYLENE FLORENTO

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