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The job of airport security is to confiscate dangerous items from suitcases, but travellers have recently found the opposite is true in the Philippines’ Manila Airport, where staff have allegedly been dropping bullets into the bags of unsuspecting passengers.

Legislators have called for an investigation into the supposed racket that extorts money from passengers by threatening to charge or arrest them for carrying illegal ammunition, the BBC reported.

“This is becoming an international embarrassment,” said Sherwin Gatchalian, a member of the tourism committee in the House of Representatives, according to the BBC. He warned that the offenders were “not afraid to prey on foreigners.”

A Filipino worker and Japanese tourist were the latest passengers to be detained in the swindle at the Southeast Asian nation’s main gateway. Other targets have reportedly been taken to court for refusing to pay fines.

Surveillance has heightened as investigators look into the incidents. After all, “there is no working system that is guarding the guards,” the BBC reported Senator Ralph Recto as saying.


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Write to Mark Rivett-Carnac at

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