My reaction to the Bullet Scam
by Jeffrey M. Thompson Jr. (American)
I have been asked to give my reaction to the recent “Bullet Scam” being conducted at The Manilla airport. If I am to understand this scam correctly, staff members at the airport have decided to place bullets into unsuspecting passengers luggage. when the bullets are then discovered, the passengers are threatened with charges and arrest unless certain “fines” are paid. If a person does not pay the “fines” then they could be faced with up to 12 years in prison for possession of illegal firearms.1,394 cases have been recorded so far this year,
This is an abomination and an embarrassment and honestly it disgusts me. As an American and a traveler I would not know what to do when faced with this situation. However I can give a few thoughts on the subject. take into consideration the trust we put into the airline and airports where we travel. We have no choice but to have faith that our safety is a concern to airport staff. The planes are properly maintained and fueled; the pilots are seasoned, well trained and sober; and for all other accounts the people employed by the airline and airport are doing their jobs. This scam completely breaks any trust that there could be. Not only that my luggage will be handled properly and not damaged, but that the contents should not be disturbed or manipulated
Now passengers are faced with even more hassle of having to shrink wrap their luggage. An extra added expense and inconvenience, as if traveling is not taxing enough.
If security personnel is then busy extorting their targets, perhaps other, more dangerous and real threats are coming through. Especially with the upcoming hosting of US President Barack Obama and other world leaders for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on November 18.
I would like to know how the bullets are getting into the airport in the first place. If anyone, a staff member or alike, can smuggle bullets in, what else could be smuggled in by anyone linked with any terrorist organization determined to make some noise.
So it is a scary situation. Not only could we be victim of staff pulling a scam but it could lead to a much more larger scale disaster while heads are turned. Someone needs to take this scam a bit more seriously and heads need to roll. I just read an account of two security guards caught conducting this scam. They should be imprisoned, not just fired. Recently, one victim had to not only post bail but spent six days in jail!
How can I ask my friends and family to visit me here if this is going on? How can I trust that they will not be harassed or threatened by airport personnel who have been put into place to protect and serve them?
A Lot of trust of world travelers will have to be gained back. This country will be seen as a nation of scammers and con artist. Let’s not continue to make that name for the Philippines.