By Jerome Aning
January 13, 2009
MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration (BI) BI) has taken custody of a 19-year-old student pilot from Saudi Arabia who was arrested on Monday night for entering a restricted area at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) without the required clearance.
BI-Naia operations chief Ferdinand Sampol said Hani Bokhari would soon be transferred to the BI detention center in Bicutan, Taguig City, after it learned that his visa expired two weeks ago.
“He’s an overstaying alien and he will be deported without prejudice to the charges that airport authorities may file against him,” Sampol added.
He said Bokhari was initially detained at the immigration holding area but he was brought to a nearby hospital after he collapsed and complained of feeling unwell.
“Once we confirm that his vital signs are normal, we will bring him to Bicutan. We did not bring him on Monday night because of security concerns about transporting him at night,” the BI-Naia official told the Inquirer on the phone.
“We are treating this [incident] as a serious breach of [security]. We find it alarming because just by being dressed as a pilot, he went to place where he’s not supposed to be found,” Sampol said.
Based on an initial report, Bokhari, who was dressed in a pilot’s uniform, entered the Naia Terminal departure area at around noon on Monday and went into the arrival section without obtaining the required pass.
He was apprehended by airport security at around 6 p.m. as he leaving the gate reserved for airline employees. He was then placed under arrest when he failed to show any authorization or passport. All that he presented was an identification card showing that he was the dependent of a Saudia Airlines’ crew member.
The Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) which runs the Naia terminals said it was conducting a security review to prevent similar incidents, Miaa General Manager Alfonso Cusi said.
Bokhari, a student of the Master Flying School in Pasay City, said he was just waiting for his father, Abdullah Bokhari, a former Saudia pilot, who was due to arrive in Manila on Monday night.
He explained that he was wearing a pilot’s uniform because he wanted to surprise his father.
He later called up his brother, Mohammad, and asked him to bring his passport to Naia.