NBI seizes 50,000 illegally procured SIM cards in raid
MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation arrested 12 individuals, including a Malaysian and 11 Filipinos, in Manila on Nov. 10 for unlawful procurement of SIM cards with GCash accounts and seized almost 50,000 SIM cards during the raid.
In a statement on Sunday, the NBI said they arrested Malaysian national Lau Wen Xiang, together with 11 Filipinos identified as Aldwin Villena Canon, RJ Vincent Abdulhamid, Alkhaizar Sahali Jambiran, Rayan Panayam Apostol, Aira May Sahali Jambiran, Sherwin Dave Cahanap Cruz, Kier John Salazar Parong, Jasper Philander Viscayno, Datu Jonathan Tasil Mama, Jonalou Tayomora Salazar and Almoner Ladjahali.
Charges were filed against them in violation of Section 9 of Republic Act No. 8484 (Access Devices Act of 1998); Section 4 of RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012); and Section 11 of RA 11934 (SIM Card Registration Act of 2020).
The NBI conducted the raid after it received information that a Facebook group was looking to “rent” verified GCash accounts with a limit of P500,000.
Willing SIM card owners would be paid P2,000 per month, in exchange for relinquishing control over their accounts. Said accounts would then be used by the group as casino loaders, the report said.
In an entrapment operation on Nov. 9, a complainant posed as a SIM card owner looking to rent out their account. The delivery rider who received the SIM card led the authorities to an establishment in Quezon City.
The NBI approached the rider who voluntarily cooperated and led authorities to Parañaque where the recipient of the SIM card resides. However, the said recipient denied involvement and said she was supposed to deliver only the SIM cards to their “boss” in Manila.
The next day, the NBI raided a building in Manila and found a unit where they discovered and arrested the 12 suspects. Agents also seized 13 desktop computers, 40 pieces of global system for mobile communication modems commonly known as “text-blast machines,” 57 mobile phones, a laptop, and monitor, along with approximately 50,000 pieces of SIM cards.