MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it is deporting 10 Chinese nationals who were apprehended for entering the country via Puerto Princesa City in Palawan aboard a luxury yacht without notice and permission from authorities.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he ordered the initiation of deportation proceedings against the Chinese crew members and passengers of the vessel SY Me Li 31 after the Philippine Coast Guard intercepted the vessel on Monday, July 20 off the coast of Barangay Concepcion in Puerto Princesa City.
The Chinese nationals, identified as Zhang Dengkang, Lin Huawei, Zhou Wei, Xu Yuansen, Lou Xioqiang, Zhao Zhoujin, Chang Liujing, Luo Shui Sheng, Chen Zhen Qi, and Zhao Jian Hui, violated the Philippine Immigration laws for entering the country without a visa, prior notice, and clearance.
The bureau said that existing rules require the agent or operators of all vessels bound for the Philippines to submit to the agency an advance notice of the ship’s arrival as well as its crew list and passenger manifest.
BI Seaport Operations Chief Alnazib Decampong said the Chinese nationals may be considered as illegal entrants as they did not apply for entry visas from a Philippine Consulate in their port of origin before sailing to the Philippines.
The BI said the Chinese nationals are currently quarantined aboard their yacht, which is moored in the waters near the Honda Bay Beach Resort in Puerto Princesa City.
“They will remain in their ship until they are deported. We will not allow them to disembark and go ashore, not only for their having no visas, but also because foreigners like them are restricted from entering the country due to COVID-19,” Decampong said.
The impounded yacht may also be seized and forfeited in favor of the government as provided under the Philippine Immigration Act, the bureau said.
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