The Bureau of Immigration (BI) raided a complex in Makati, Philippines on February 19, 2019 and arrested 276 foreigners that appeared to be employees of an online gambling establishment; first reported on local news outlet ABS-CBN. The Intelligence Division Chief for the BI, Fortunato Manahan Jr., stated the raid was “for verification of their travel documents and immigration status.”.
Reportedly, BI had received an anonymous tip that many of the casino’s employees were illegal foreigners. It is not clear how anyone would have known that, unless maybe the tip was from the ‘inside’ of the company. As it turns out, most were undocumented and they were not able to present any proof of their immigration status. BI Chief Mananan said that it is possible that these individuals simply did not bring their passports to work with them, or that their passports have been lost.
BI Chief Mananan also stated that identification and immigration status verification is ongoing and that in the meantime, the foreigners are being held at the BI’s Warden Facility in Taguig City. The scale of this arrest signals that 2019 could be a recored year in this crime catagory. The number of foreigners that were arrested in 2018 was just 533 for the entire year.