Are there a lot of fugitives hiding in the Philippines? I ask the question because it is a common perception that there are many people hiding in the Philippines. Are there any fugitives hiding here? Of course there are foreigners hiding in the Philippines. I think this perception is more common with Filipinos than with the foreigners that live in the Philippines. Like most other things, the number is not as large as many think. I often hear foreigners make comments saying someone is or probably is “Running from the law”. Most of the time, these foreigners are just doing what is so common, putting others down and complaining. With Filipinos, usually a Filipina in my case, might ask “What are you doing in the Philippines?” Now that question might be totally innocent but sometimes I wonder if they think I am running from the law.

Not Easy to Hide from the Law in the Philippines

In the past, fairly easy to hide in the Philippines. However that is rapidly changing. I’ve read of many foreign fugitivesJailed in the Philippines being captured while In the Philippines. There are several reasons why it is not easy to hide from the authorities in your native country while in the Philippines. The first one is Interpol. A few years ago, the Philippines obtained a link to Interpol’s list of fugitives. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) managed to get a lot of press on this when it first refused entry and detained some people that were wanted another a country. As far as I can tell though, they don’t check everyone via Interpol. At least they have not in the past.

I did read the other day that BI is getting updated passport scanning machines that will provide their officers with more information when you arrive. This will make it easier for the Philippines to detect fugitives.

Mostly though, I don’t think it is a good place to hide from your local police agencies. The main reason I have formed this opinion is that there are so many living here that get busted and sent back home after spending some time in a not so paradise like jail in the Philippines.

American Living in the Philippines Busted

I got the idea to write about this when I read about Freeman “Buck” Reed getting sentenced to a long term in the USA after living in and running a scam from within the Philippines. It has been reported  that while living here, Reed claimed to have access to gold that he did not own but could sell. He was returned to the USA and sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Walking In BogoI was once approached by someone that wanted me to get involved with finding old Japanese caves and buried artifacts from WWII and that is the same source that the gold was to have come from. The gold never existed.

I found a video that he is a part of. Now, it is not made by him or apparently for a product that he is selling though he might be affiliated in some way. I don’t know. He could just be doing a favor for a friend. You would not catch me dead promoting anything being sold with the words Auto Profit Generator. What? Are you kidding me? People still fall for that. There is nothing easy or automatic about making money on the Internet. In fact, it has become much harder since Google was able to dominate the search engines. They control about eighty percent of all searches and they are pushing the small time people like me out.

He’s got some pretty shady things he was dealing in online, things I would never promote and are covered up with old school red flag words like “Auto generating profits”. When you see someone making claims like that run as fast as you can.

Stepped Up Efforts to Find and Expel Foreign Fugitives Hiding in the Philippines

It seems that the Philippines has been increasing its efforts to find and remove people hiding in the Philippines to avoid prosecution or jail. In a Philstar article I found this:

The number of foreign criminals and fugitives arrested in the Philippines reached 659 in 2013, the Bureau of Immigration revealed.

The article goes on to point out that less than 50 were detained in the preceding year. That surprises me. I suppose that when it does happen the press makes a huge deal about it and there seemed to be more of this to me. That’s a good example of how you can get the wrong impression of the way things are from the press. They managed to suck me in on that.

There probably are still a lot of people hiding in the Philippines but I think that is becoming less of a viable option. Most of us that live here are good, formally hard working and law abiding people. I said those of us living here. Visitors may be a different story, but most of those are also mostly law abiding people. However, many visitors come to visit the bikini bars and other areas were you are more likely to find trouble. Those people are more likely to have found trouble before they arrived here too.

You can usually get a passport from the USA even if you’re a convicted felon. There are some exceptions for specific crimes.

I suspect it will become more difficult to hide here.  Too many people have an incorrect view of the Philippines. The Philippines has enjoyed the highest rate of growth in Asia according to many press reports. This growth will allow increased advances in technology available to BI. If I were running from the law, I would likely try to find another location.

If you were to get into the Philippines, go up in the remote mountain areas, stay out of more trouble and not draw too much attention to yourself, you might be able to get away with that. That could even be quite an adventure if you are up to that challenge physically.

If you have any comments or are yourself hiding in the Philippines, please tell us about it haha. I do not expect anyone to take me up on that invitation. It would be interesting though. If you found this article interesting please share it on your social networks such as FaceBook, Twitter and Google Plus. I hope you have not been one to assume most of us that are living in the Philippines are running from the law. If you have been I hope you will reconsider that. Many people that are hiding in the Philippines are more likely to run afoul of the law here too.

By Rusty Ferguson

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