Nine Japanese nationals who are wanted for telecommunications fraud were deported Monday by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) of the Philippines.

The suspects, according to the Business World, were identified as Irie Dai, Ishii Kyogo, Hamaoka Kantaro, Maeyama Takuto, Tanaka Kazuya, Yoshida Takeshi, Murata Seiichi, Kouki Shouji, and Imizumi Ryo.

Media reports said that the suspects were “involved in voice phishing and telecommunication fraud that targets their fellow Japanese citizens.”

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department confirmed that they are members of a group masterminding a fraud syndicate since 2018. Japanese officials said the suspects may have already scammed around 1.5 billion yen ($13 million) from more than 1,500 compatriots in Japan.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente clarified that the nine suspects are just the first batch among the 36 Japanese nationals who were arrested by the bureau’s fugitive search unit in November 2019.

The Japanese group is believed to have operated from different areas in the Philippines.
On Monday morning, the arrested foreigners were flown to Narita Airport aboard a Japan Airlines flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The BI furthered that the deportees might as well be banned from entering the country again.