Wanted Korean slips past PH immigration

Posted at 03/25/13 7:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A South Korean wanted in his country for a $25-million investment scam managed to secure a working visa in the Philippines even after being apprehended and detained here, and also managed to leave Manila despite a hold-departure order.

Authorities at the Incheon International Airport 48 kilometers west of Seoul in South Korea arrested fugitive Park Sung Jung upon his arrival from Manila in the early hours of March 19.

Sources said South Korean authorities expressed concern, however, that they were not alerted by Philippine immigration officials about Park’s departure from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Philippine Airlines’ last flight out of the NAIA for Incheon near midnight on March 18.

Immigration authorities at the NAIA are now looking for the individual who stamped Park’s passport, clearing him for departure despite a hold order against him.

The South Korean embassy had requested to be immediately notified by Philippine authorities if Park tried to leave Manila.

Park fled his country last year after being tagged in the $25-million investment scam. Upon his arrival in Manila, he was arrested and held at the detention center of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Bicutan, Taguig.

Instead of being deported, however, sources said Park was not only released but also given a 9G or working visa, which is usually given to foreign investors.

The issuance of a 9G visa needs endorsement by the BI board and its executive director and final approval by the BI commissioner.