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Indians held for people-trafficking

world Updated: Jun 13, 2011 14:57 IST

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An Indian couple believed to be part of a people-smuggling syndicate will be deported from the Philippines for violating immigration rules, authorities said on Monday.

Police detained Lakhvir Singh and his wife, Shinder Pal Kaur, at their home in a Manila suburb last week and they will soon be deported, immigration bureau intelligence chief Maria Antonette Mangrobang said.

"We believe they were part of a big human smuggling syndicate," Mangrobang told AFP. "This arrest is part of the government's continuing crackdown against these syndicates."

She said the gang had been operating in Manila since 2000, and was believed to have processed fake documents for thousands of Indian nationals so they could enter the Philippines illegally.

One of Singh's accomplices is a known people-smuggler who is being sought for murder and is now in hiding, Mangrobang said.

President Benigno Aquino has vowed to curb all forms of human trafficking, which the US State Department said is a major problem in the former American colony.

The campaign made headlines last month when a court jailed for life two Swedish men who were arrested in 2009 for running a cybersex business in the southern Philippines.