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MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has reiterated its warning to Filipino travelers against allowing themselves to be recruited by syndicates for drug-trafficking operations.

DFA issued the warning after the arrests of several Filipino travelers for possession of illegal drugs. The most recent of these arrests took place in Ningbo, China and involved a Filipino who was found carrying five kilos of crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as “ice.”  He was arrested at the airport while he was waiting for his flight to depart from Ningbo to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The DFA said the latest modus operandi of drug syndicates is to recruit travelers who would transport illegal drugs out of China.  The Filipino recruits travel from Manila to Guangzhou where African members of drug syndicates give them packages containing the illegal substance.

Later, they are asked to travel to Ningbo or Shenzhen where they are to take a flight to Kuala Lumpur. In at least two instances, minors were asked to accompany Filipino recruits during their travel.

The DFA warned Filipino travelers that China imposes harsh penalties on persons convicted of transporting illegal drugs.  Filipinos who are residing, working or vacationing in China are advised to be cautious in accepting packages intended to be delivered back to the Philippines or to other transit destinations like Malaysia.

The public is also advised to comply with pre-departure formalities being implemented by Philippine immigration authorities. These formalities are intended to ensure the safety of Filipino travelers and prevent the occurrence of illegal recruitment, people smuggling, human trafficking and drug trafficking.