Chinese nationals account for bulk of arrested illegal immigrants in 2020 — BI

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — The majority of foreigners arrested for allegedly violating the country’s immigration laws last year are Chinese nationals, the Bureau of Immigration reported on Sunday.

The bureau said in a press release that it apprehended a total of 510 illegal aliens in 2020, including over 300 Chinese citizens arrested in Tarlac last December for their reported involvement in online gambling and cybercrime operations.

Citing coronavirus restrictions, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said last year’s tally was significantly lower compared to the over 2,000 undocumented foreigners caught in 2019.

“Because of the pandemic and community quarantines imposed, there was a decrease in the movement of aliens," Morente said. "A lot of foreign nationals also joined repatriation flights back to their home countries.”

Also arrested last year were 43 overstaying Indian nationals in General Santos City and Quezon City, according to BI intelligence chief Fortunato Manahan Jr. He added that 14 South Korean and two Vietnamese nationals were likewise caught without the necessary documents and for engaging in unauthorized business activities.

The bureau also said it assisted in catching suspected foreign terrorists in Mindanao, including an alleged Indonesian suicide bomber arrested in Jolo, Sulu last October, who was found to be an illegal entrant.