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November 2, 2015

Philippines orders probe into ‘bullet implant’ scam at Manila airport

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Philippines, is under a strict vigilance as President Benigno Aquino has ordered an immediate probe against the airport security guards who are accused of illegally planting bullets in the luggage of passengers to extort money.

By Prasanth Katam

Manila

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Philippines, is under a strict vigilance as President Benigno Aquino has ordered an immediate probe against the airport security guards who are accused of illegally planting bullets in the luggage of passengers to extort money.

The first accusation dates back to September when a 20-year-old American visitor was detained for six days after the security guards allegedly secured a bullet from his luggage.

He was arrested and dragged to court as he denied the claim and refused to pay a fine of 30,000 peso to the NAIA officials.

Since then, several such reports of extortion were lodged against the NAIA, with a Philippino worker, a Japanese man, a teenage girl and a Japan-bound middle-aged man becoming victims on various occasions.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda was quoted by The Gulf Today as saying: "President Aquino has instructed Secretary (Joseph Emilio) Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communication to thoroughly look into this so-called ‘tanim bala’ (planting bullets) cases."

This scam has not only enraged the locals and the tourists but also deteriorated the credibility of the airport that is already listed among the world’s worst airports in customer service.

Tourism Committee vice-chairman Sherwin Gatchalian said it was becoming an ‘international embarrassment’.

The Office of Transportation Security (OTS) is entrusted with the responsibility of investigating the scam and issuing a report by 6 November 2015.

Senate of the Philippines President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto was quoted by USA Today Travel as saying: "There is no working system that is guarding the guards."


Image: The NAIA scam involved security officials at the airport. Photo: courtesy of Mithril Cloud.

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