MANILA -- The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday reported the arrest of an overstaying Vietnamese couple for attempting to leave the country with fake immigration stamps on their passports.

BI Port Operations head, Grifton Medina, said Nguyen Thanh Quang, 35, and his wife Pham Thi Dung, 34, were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 by members of the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) when they attempted to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Ho Chi Minh City last March 30.

“Their passports had arrival stamps indicating that they arrived only last March 11 but a check of our database showed that they did not arrive on that day,” he said in a statement.

Medina noted that an examination of the passports by BI’s anti-fraud section certified that the arrival stamps were bogus.

“They thought they could evade paying their fines for overstaying by making it appear that they arrived only recently through these fake arrival stamps. These fraudulent schemes cannot escape detection by our vigilant officers at the airport,” he added.

On the other hand, BI-TCEU chief Erwin Ortañez said the couple had been in the country since June 5, 2018, based on the record of their last date of arrival.

“Instead of applying for the extension of their stay and pay the required fees, they chose to deal with fixers who make a living by selling these fake stamps to overstaying foreign tourists,” he said.

The BI official noted that the fraudulent scheme was discovered after their personnel noticed that the passports did not have departure stamps from the foreign nationals supposed previous arrival.

They are currently detained at the BI detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City pending their prosecution for violating the Philippine Immigration Act. (PNA)