Cybersex firm ‘owners’ deny key role-A A +A
Monday, February 3, 2014
THE two women who were arrested in Guadalupe for an alleged mail-order bride scheme denied their involvement in the “call center’s” cybersex modus.
Ligaya Vitor, who was allegedly the manager of the alleged call center company, Filipino Heart Internet Consultant (FHIC), which supposedly matches Filipina models with foreign clients, denied any key role in the scheme and said she was just a helper.
She said the office served as a consultation and translation office for foreign clients.
In an interview, she questioned why she was arrested since she was not included in the subject of the search warrant.
“Nakadungog ko atong duha ka police pag-raid, nangutana kon nganong apilon ko pag-arrest nga wala man koy labot. Katabang ra man tawn ko (I heard the two policemen, asking why I should also be arrested when I wasn’t a part of it. I was just a helper),” Vitor told Sun.Star Cebu.
She said the company started last November 2012.
“Wala gyud kaayo ko kahibaw kon mag-unsa ni sila basta ako tigbadlong ra sad ko kung naay magpabadlong (I had no idea what they do, but I just watch those who misbehave),” said Vitor.
She said she only received a salary of P9,000 per month and does not know how much the company she worked for earns.
Mei Yee, who is the subject of the warrant, also denied she was the owner.
She said she was just hired by the owner to help the employees on how to shoot photos.
When asked about the owner of FHIC, she said the owner was from Hong Kong, but declined to comment further.
She said she was hired two years ago. Yee reportedly owned a photo studio in China.
When she arrived in Cebu, she said it was a good place to study English so she brought her three-year-old daughter to the city.
“We were living in the house (where it was raided), and were surprised when the police arrived in the area. They even took my daughter’s laptop, which was wrong,” added Yee.
Vitor and Yee will face charges of violating Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 and the RA 6955 or the Anti-Mail-Order Bride Act.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) Visayas Field Unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is monitoring at least five call center companies in Cebu that are allegedly operating mail-order bride sites.
Senior Insp. Michael Vertudazo, head of ACG 7, said this is the first time they busted a syndicate in Cebu that uses Filipino women in setting up encounters with foreigners through the Internet.
The home-operated call center uses dating website, idateasia.com, which posts sexy pictures of Filipino women.
Vertudazo said foreign clients pay $3 as startup online credits and could reach up to $399. This credits will pay for time used to talk with the agents who pretend to be models posted in the website.
“The models don’t know what transpired in the conversation, but they agreed with the set-up,” he said.
The models went through photo-shoots and signed a waiver. If a client finds a prospective wife, the company would arrange his trip to the Philippines.
“Naa na daw nagpakasal. Some are just for sex lang (Some have married),” Vertudazo said.
The company uses pictures of their models and not from anyone, such as in social networking sites.
Vertudazo said the raid was a result of their month-long online investigation of dating sites, where many young female Cebuanos have joined.
They started investigating the company last November and confirmed its illegal activities before applying for a search warrant against Yee.
Vertudazo said they are also investigating other dating websites under cupidnetwork.com to find out if this is connected to the syndicate.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 03, 2014.