Mali national Miriam Kanoute, a suspect in an attempt to dupe a Filipina into giving her more than half a million pesos in exchange for a package that turned out empty, is detained at the Manila International Airport Authority police headquarters after her arrest on April 12. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIAA

MANILA – Airport authorities reminded the public to be cautious in dealing with strangers after the arrest of a foreigner who attempted to dupe a Filipina into giving her money in exchange for a supposed “package.”

Manila International Airport Authority operatives caught Miriam Kanoute, 34, during an entrapment operation at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport last Thursday, April 12.

Kanoute, a Mali national with an address in Makati City, was detained at the MIAA police headquarters.

She faces charges for violation of Article 315 (Syndicated Swindling/Estafa) of the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, the MIAA said.

Shirley Campones sought help from the police, believing she was being scammed.

She said someone asked her US$11,000 – more than half a million pesos – in exchange for a package from Fred McNeil, a man she met online.

Campones said McNeil told her he was held by customs in an airport in Turkey because of jewelry found in his baggage.

Someone sent her a text asking to meet on April 12 in a restaurant at the departure area of NAIA Terminal I.

The sender claimed she had the package from McNeil and she will give it in exchange for US$11,000, said Campones.

As she sought help from the airport police, Campones said she could give only a portion of the amount. The airport police then staged the entrapment.

Campones was eating snacks when a black woman – later identified as Kanoute –approached her. The Filipina handed the latter a white envelope with money.

The airport police then arrested Kanoute. The package turned out empty.

Campones disclosed that Kanoute was the same foreigner she previously met in a mall in Makati.

At the time Kanoute was with another foreigner, Ronald Morris. Their meet-up was also about the supposed package for the Filipina.

“I call on everyone to be careful with their dealings with people they do not know. It pays to be cautious in this regard,” MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said in a statement.

“We advise the public to seek the help of police authorities in case of doubt,” Monreal added. (With PNA/PN)

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