Travel scam warning: Bullet in luggage scam in the Philippines

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Some travel scams are well-known throughout the world, while others are purely regional. The increase in instances of a particular scam in the Philippines is making headlines worldwide, and it’s worth knowing about if you plan on traveling there (or in case it spreads elsewhere).

Security personnel at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been accused of slipping bullets into passengers’ carry-on luggage as they pass through checkpoints. The bullets are of course prohibited, and the security guards then demand that the passengers pay a fine, or else they will risk going to jail.

In two recent instances of the bullet scam, a Filipino worker and a Japanese tourist were targeted. Their experience was reported by the BBC:

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 (OTS) 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 authorising him to carry ammunition.

Most travel scams tend to result only in the loss of some money. While it’s always unfortunate to fall for or be trapped in a scam that costs you cash, this bullet scam in the Philippines is far worse, as it impacts not just a person’s wallet, but their freedom as well. Hopefully the government can do something about this soon before people start avoiding traveling to the country. While the specifics of how the security staff in Manila are going about doing this aren’t detailed, always be extra vigilant when it comes to your luggage, perhaps even locking all of the zippers on your carry-on luggage so nothing can be inserted.

via Road Warrior Voices

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