2 Koreans wanted for telecom, wire fraud arrested

Two fugitives were captured by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) after being sought by South Korea and the US for their involvement in fraud-related operations.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco confirmed the arrests of the two South Korean fugitives, who were identified as Kwon Junyoung, 38, and Seok Jongmin, 48. The two were arrested last Saturday in Brgy. Cuayan, Angeles City, Pampanga, by the BI Fugitive Search Unit (BI-FSU) operatives.

Tansingco said that the operation was conducted in collaboration with the South Korean authorities, government intelligence groups, and the Angeles City Police Station. According to the South Korean authorities, Kwon is wanted for telecommunications fraud in South Korea, while Seok is wanted in Texas for engaging in wire fraud, money laundering, and identity theft.

The BI chief said that as the BI board of commissioners has already issued summary deportation orders against them, soon they will be deported to face the crime they committed.

Tansingco added that their names were also placed on the bureau’s blacklist of undesirable aliens, so they are now banned from re-entering the Philippines, the BI chief added.

According to information obtained from Interpol’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Manila, the Suwon District Court in Korea issued an arrest order for Kwon on 12 December 2019.

Authorities claimed that Kwon was part of a telecom fraud syndicate operating in Dalian, China, that used voice phishing to call random victims.

Based on reports, the callers impersonated investigators from the Seoul Central Prosecutor’s Office in order to harass the victims and trick them into transferring money to the syndicate’s accounts.

In contrast, the NCB revealed that Seok is the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the US district court in Western Texas. He is accused of conspiring to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, conspiring to commit money laundering, and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

Seok is accused of working with other suspects to gain access to the websites of the US Departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs using thousands of US military veterans’ stolen personal identification information (PII), depriving the victims of their benefits.

The BI-FSU also reported that Seok was arrested after posting bail at the Angeles City regional trial court, where he was charged with robbery and extortion, and will be transferred to the BI’s facility in Bicutan, Taguig.

While Kwon will remain in the custody of the Angeles City police due to his ongoing local case, he will continue to be under the BI’s legal custody for deportation proceedings.


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