Singaporean arrested in raid on illegal recruitment racket in the Philippines

MANILA - A Singaporean and 13 Filipinos were arrested on Friday in a police raid on a suspected illegal recruitment racket in a city south of the capital Manila. 

Police Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, a spokesperson of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said the Singaporean, Yvonne Phua, 55, was arrested with a Filipino couple, Michael Abellar and Joy Abellar, who were said to be operating an illegal recruitment firm in two office units inside a building in Las Pinas city.

Chief Inspector Jasmin told The Straits Times on Saturday that Phua liaised between her husband, who reportedly owns a maid agency in Singapore, and the Abellars.

Phua was charged on Saturday with human trafficking and illegal recruitment.

Philippine police rescued 39 women who were reportedly being prepped for deployment to Singapore when they raided the offices of the Abellars' offices in Las Pinas. Police identified the Abellars' firm as PEM Maid Employment Agency, but an online check listed an agency of the same name in Singapore.

rdancel@sph.com.sg

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