2 NAIA workers axed for stealing from Thai tourist | Inquirer News
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2 NAIA workers axed for stealing from Thai tourist

BOARDING  Passengers line up at  Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 to check in for their respective flights out of the country. —FILE PHOTO

BOARDING Passengers line up at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 to check in for their respective flights out of the country. —FILE PHOTO

Two personnel from the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) are facing criminal complaints after they were caught on camera stealing cash from a Thai tourist while conducting routine inspection at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 2 in Pasay City.

The OTS received a report of extortion based on the videos posted on Facebook by Piyawat Gunlayaprasit on Feb. 22, in which his companion Kitja Thabthim, another Thai national, was requesting an OTS security screening officer to return the money taken from him amounting to 20,000 yen (around P8,000).

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The OTS did not disclose the identities of the two lady OTS officers involved, but said they were already relieved from their posts and placed under preventive suspension.

“They shall not only be dismissed from the service but shall also be put behind bars for their criminal acts that tarnish the reputation and integrity not only of OTS but the entire country in general,” it said in a statement on Monday.

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According to the OTS, it is already preparing to file administrative cases against the two personnel, which may lead to their dismissal. It is also working with the Thai nationals in pursuing airtight criminal cases against them.

Based on Gunlayaprasit’s post, their baggage had just passed through the X-ray machines operated by OTS personnel when Thabthim screamed that the money in his wallet placed in a plastic tray for scanning had disappeared.

He posted a video showing one of the OTS personnel stealthily putting the missing cash in the pocket of another OTS personnel.

When they approached the OTS personnel to help them find the missing money, they brushed them aside, saying there were no closed-circuit television cameras to check.

But when Thabthim told them that he recorded what happened, an OTS personnel approached Thabthim and handed him the missing 20,000 yen. The OTS personnel also held the Thai nationals in a separate area where they were told to delete the video of the incident. They were only allowed to leave after showing that they deleted the videos, which however, they were able to recover later.

“At that moment, I couldn’t do anything either, there was no security guard, no police, as if it were a movement. I could only take a clip and shout loudly,” wrote the Thai national on a social media post.

The OTS said these “corrupt and illegal acts shall not be tolerated to send a strong message that we are serious in cleansing our ranks.”

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Meanwhile, Sen. Grace Poe on Monday directed the Manila International Airport Authority to submit a report on the stealing incident at Naia.

Poe, the chair of the Senate public services committee, said there might have been similar incidents in the past that were not officially brought to the attention of airport authorities.

She said one of her staffers actually had a similar experience two months ago when she lost her digital watch at the baggage inspection counter of Naia Terminal 2.

“The security personnel who are tasked to protect us are the same ones who are doing these shenanigans,” Poe told reporters.

“When I saw the video, it was really infuriating and embarrassing. This again adds to the problems in the reputation of Naia and our airports,” she added. INQ

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TAGS: NAIA theft, NAIA workers, Ninoy Aquino International Airport
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