A Chinese man, posing as a Vanuatu national, was arrested by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) before he could board a Thai Airways flight bound for Bangkok, Thailand on June 11, 2024.

Alex Cooper, 43, holding a Vanuatu passport, was found upon initial investigation to be a Chinese national. He was unable to speak the language of the South Pacific nation and could only speak Chinese. The mobile phone he carried displayed Chinese characters.

News Image #1

(Photo from the Bureau of Immigration)

According to Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco, an ongoing investigation is underway to determine how the said Chinese national obtained a Vanuatu passport without having visited that country.

Cooper is currently detained in the BI detention facility at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, as investigations continue to ascertain where he will be deported.

"If we are able to establish that he is actually a Chinese citizen and that his Vanuatu passport was merely procured from fixers to conceal his real identity, he will be summarily deported and banned from re-entering the country," Tansingco said.

Cooper used his Vanuatu passport to enter and exit countries including the Philippines, Japan, and Thailand.

He first used the Vanuatu passport in the Philippines when he entered the country on June 30, 2022.

Vanuatu is an island country in Melanesia located in the South Pacific Ocean.