Two foreign travelers were arrested in separate incidents in the space of three days at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila. Both were detained for trying to leave the country using fake passports.

On January 14, a Chinese national identified as Han Yujia, 36, was arrested for trying to leave for Bangkok using a counterfeit Guatemalan passport. Three days later, a Colombian man named Juan Arturo Carbajo, 48, was detained for presenting a fake Argentinean passport when he checked in for a flight to Macau, Manila Bulletin reported.

Glen Comia, NAIA travel control and enforcement unit head, said that the passports presented by the two foreigners were discovered to be fake after being examined by the forensic document laboratory.

Comia said Han admitted during questioning that he was a Chinese citizen and surrendered his Chinese passport, which was in his luggage.  Carbajo allegedly bought his fake Argentinean passport for US$300 from a passport fraud syndicate in Lima, Peru.

Bureau of Immigration port operations chief Grifton Medina said the two foreigners are now detained at the Bicutan Detention Center for violating immigration laws. Medina expressed concern over the increasing number of fake passports being discovered.

“Our officers have apprehended quite a number of fraudulent passports in the past few months, and I fear that an international syndicate is yet again operating and producing these documents,” Medina said.