NAIA screener nabbed for taking money from HK tourist
AIRPORT police arrested a Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) security officer after he stole $2,000 from a Hong Kong tourist.
Manila International Airport Authority Airport (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal ordered the arrest of the suspect, identified as Nissan Abello Villarino, an OTS (Office of the Transportation Security) officer assigned at the final security screening of the departure area of the NAIA Terminal 2.
Monreal issued the order after a J.F. Yuen, a friend of victim, complained about the victim’s ordeal on Facebook.
According to Yuen, he and his friends had just checked in for a Philippine Airlines flight back to Hong Kong on the afternoon of June 10 when they went through the final security screening at NAIA Terminal 2.
Several of them had already passed through screening but one of his friends was pulled aside as the screener wanted to check his backpack manually.
The security screener opened the backpack and reportedly removed the items inside one by one. The screener then pulled out the passenger’s wallet from the backpack, opened it, and reportedly pulled out two HK$1,000 bills from the wallet.
According to Yuen, the screener, who was later identified as Villarino, demanded that the victim give him the money.
Yuen’s friend, who spoke very little English, refused to give Villarino the HK$1,000 bills, but the suspect insisted and took the cash.
The victim then looked for his other companions who were more fluent in English and asked for help. The victim’s friends, who were lawyers, talked to the suspect and demanded that he return the money.
Villarino was reportedly taken aback when he found out that the victim’s companions knew how to speak English and returned the $2,000.
After getting back the money, the victim no longer had time to make a formal complaint with airport authorities and proceeded to the boarding gate to catch the flight back to HK.
It was when they arrived back in Hong Kong that Yuen was able to inform airport officials about the incident after communicating with them through Facebook messenger.
Members of the MIAA Surveillance and Screening Department (SSD) acted on Yuen’s complaint with Inspector Jesus Ducusin spearheading the investigation of the case.
Inspector Ducusin got in touch with Yuen in Hong Kong and, after getting the facts of the case, was able to identify and later apprehend the security screener.
During the inquiry, Villarino voluntarily submitted his written statement admitting that he took the cash from the tourist.
The Airport Authority has removed Villarino from his post and revoked his access inside the airport terminal while administrative charges were being prepared against him.
Meanwhile, the airport police are waiting for the victim to file a formal complaint at the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong.