PNP sets forensic test on hacking devices found on Chinese national

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

June 13, 2024, 8:15 pm

MANILA – The Philippine National Police - Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) is set to conduct a "forensic digital examination" on the hi-tech and military-grade devices recovered from a Chinese national who was arrested in Makati City last month.

In an interview, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 has approved the cyber warrant applied by the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Ang susunod na hakbang niyan ay i-endorse nila itong approved cyber warrants sa ACG dahil ang ACG ang magko-conduct ng forensic examination doon sa mga na-recover na mga communication equipment (The next step is to endorse the approved cyber warrants to the ACG because it will be the one to conduct the forensic examinations on the recovered communication equipment),” she said.

The suspect, Yuhang Liu, was arrested on Finlandia corner Codornico streets in Barangay San Isidro, Makati due to a gun-toting complaint.

The complainant said Liu coerced him into delivering unidentified communication hacking devices to the suspect's residence.

This equipment would allegedly be placed in vital installations to hack or access mobile phones' international mobile equipment identity (IMEI).

In his order, Makati City RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano said that he was satisfied after personally examining the witnesses of the PNP CIDG that "there is probable cause to believe that violations of Section 4 (a) (2) (Illegal Interception), also known as Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, have been committed, are being committed, or are about to be committed” by the suspect.

The warrant to disclose computer data directed the PNP-ACG to conduct forensic digital examination on one IPhone 15, one radio receiver/transmitter, one unit each of Huawei router and Apple tablet, an Honor laptop, two more cellphones, an aerial drone, an inverter unit, a computer central processing unit, and other computer accessories.

The court also directed the PNP-CIDG to "retain and utilize the seized and examined computer data, including the result of the onsite and offsite computer forensic examination" in the investigation and subsequent filing of charges against the Chinese national and his cohorts.

Fajardo also said they are waiting on the court's ruling to transfer the Chinese national, who is currently detained at the CIDG - National Capital Region to the PNP custodial center in Camp Crame.

Yuhang Liu is being held for violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998, and grave threat. (PNA)