Philippines detains Vietnamese couple using fake passport stamps

By Nguyen Quy   April 5, 2019 | 05:00 pm PT
A Vietnamese couple has been detained for attempting to flee the country with fake immigration stamps on their passports.

Nguyen Thanh Quang, 35, and his wife Pham Thi Dung, 34, were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by immigration officers when they were boarding a Philippine Airlines flight to Ho Chi Minh City on March 30, the Philippines News Agency reported.

The arrival stamps on the couple’s passports showed they arrived in the Philippines on March 11 but a database check confirmed that it was not their arrival date, Grifton Medina, head of the Bureau of Immigration, said Thursday, as cited in the report.

The arrival stamps on the passports were fake, the report said, citing a bureau source.

According to the bureau’s travel control and enforcement unit, the couple had been in the country for nine months, based on the record of their last date of arrival on June 5 last year.

"They thought they could evade paying their fines for overstaying by making it appear that they arrived only recently, through these fake arrival stamps," Medina said.

The couple are now in custody pending prosecution for violating the Philippine Immigration Act.

People in Southeast Asia can travel across the region without having to apply for a visa, but they are only allowed to stay for 30 days as tourists.

In recent years, Vietnamese workers, mainly women, have visited neighboring countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, and stayed on to work illegally.

Many have been caught, detained and deported.

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