NBI nabs Japanese man in human smuggling racket

MANILA — A Japanese national who has been in the Philippines for 23 years has been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for human smuggling.

Jiro Saito, 47, a.k.a “Saito San” and “Ken Suzuki”, owner of travel agency Dexdan Travel Consultancy Services in Malate, Manila, was arrested by operatives of the NBI-International Airport Investigation Unit on Tuesday for facilitating the departure of a complainant through the use of a spurious marriage certificate.

Saito, who is married to a Filipina and is fluent in Filipino, said he had not known that the papers he furnished were forged.

Theresa Kyla Serafico, the complainant, said she was on her way back to Japan last July 22 when she was offloaded by the Bureau of Immigration after presenting her marriage certificate with one Atsushi Takahashi.

Authorities were alerted by the mismatch as to the complainant’s age in her marriage certificate and passport.

She then admitted that the marriage contract was spurious and that it was Saito who facilitated the preparation and processing of the travel documents working with Takahashi, Angelica Hernandez and spouses Takashi and Nancy Sugano.

Saito gave her the marriage certificate along with a copy of Takahashi’s passport to facilitate her stay in Japan where she was to work as an entertainer in a club.

The victim said she had previously worked in Japan in the same capacity in the club which had been then owned by the Sugano couple but is now run by Takahashi.

The club offers sexual services to customers.

Saito is facing charges for alleged violation of Republic Act No. 6955 (Mail Order Bride or Matching Filipino Woman for Marriage) and Republic Act 9208 or the Expanded Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.

Takahashi, Hernandez and the Sugano couple remain at large. Benjamin Pulta/PNA-northboundasia.com