By Ferdinand Patinio

South Korean fugitive Choi Minjae. (Photo courtesy of BI)

MANILA – Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga arrested a South Korean national wanted in his home country for drug trafficking.

In a statement Thursday, Commissioner Norman Tansingco said Choi Minjae, 33, was intercepted on June 17 before he could board a Jeju Air flight to Incheon in Seoul, South Korea, after his name prompted a positive hit in the bureau’s derogatory check system, indicating that he was blacklisted as a result of the deportation order against him.

He said the South Korean has been on the wanted list of the BI since February this year, when he was ordered deported for being an undesirable alien.

Choi is also the subject of a red notice from the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) issued on Feb. 2, stemming from the drug case against him.

A warrant for his arrest was issued by the Ulsan district court in southeastern Korea where he was indicted for violating his country’s Narcotics Control Act.

Authorities said between April 2022 to June 2023, Choi and an accomplice sold over the Internet over USD3.27 million worth of drugs, including synthetic marijuana and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), the sales of which which were transacted 539 times via the messaging app Telegram.

LSD is a potent hallucinogen that can cause distorted perception, anxiety, and flashbacks.

“He is perpetually barred from re-entering the country as a consequence of his inclusion in our immigration blacklist,” Tansingco said.

Choi is now at the BI detention facility at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, where he will remain while awaiting deportation. (PNA)