Philippine legislators angered by a widening bullet scam are demanding an investigation into reports unsuspecting passengers are being fleeced by airport personnel.
The scam involves inserting a bullet into passengers’ luggage as they go through security in Manila’s main airport, according to BBC News.
They are then asked to pay a fine or risk being charged with illegal possession of ammunition.
An overseas Filipino worker and a Japanese tourist are the latest to complain.
“This is becoming an international embarrassment”, said Sherwin Gatchalian, vice chairman of the tourism committee of the House of Representatives.
Sen. Ralph Recto demanded intervention from authorities, saying there is “no working system that is guarding the guards”.
Gloria Ortinez, an overseas Filipino worker, was stopped from flying to Hong Kong after a bullet was found in her hand luggage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Ortinez denied the bullet was hers, saying she would never carry one because of Hong Kong’s strict security laws.
Office of Transportation Security personnel released her after several days in police detention.
Japanese tourist Kazunobu Sakamoto was found with two bullets in his luggage and arrested after failing to show documents authorizing him to carry ammunition.
The reports have caused outrage, with citizens criticising airport authorities.
Gatchalian condemned OTS staff, saying they were “not afraid to prey on foreigners”.
Some of the passengers detained were released after the bullets were found to be blanks while others were taken to court for refusing to pay fines.
Surveillance at the airport has been stepped up since the complaints began and an investigation has been launched into the personnel accused of involvement.
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