The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) today announces the arrest of a Japanese national and 10 Filipino employees of a Makati City-based firm involved in multi-million illegal Subscriber Identity Module or SIM card cracking activities in the country.
PNP ACG Director, Police Senior Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said the Japanese national and the 10 employees of TechResource Inc. located at Trafalgar Plaza, Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village Makati City were rounded-up during a raid they conducted on the strength of a search warrant for violation of Section 4 (a)4 of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 issued by Judge Zaldy B. Docena of the Malabon City Regional Trial Court Branch 170.
In a report to PNP Chief, Director General Ricardo C. Marquez, Eleazar said the country’s largest telecommunication network sought their assistance in investigating the Makati-based company said to be being operated by some Japanese nationals for cracking domestic SIM cards used for International calls and Internet connections.
Eleazar said they found out that the company is using a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) gateway which converts international calls to domestic calls.
He said that the illegal activity is called International Simple Resale (ISR) which refers to the unauthorized routing and completing of international long distance calls using a computer system by connecting these calls directly to the local or domestic exchange facilities of the country where these are destined.PNP-ACG experts also further discovered that other SIM cards were used for Voice Over theInternet Protocol (VOIP) to cater online audio and video calls.
The GSM gateway was connected on the Internet to transfer calls to the domestic SIM cards. There were forty (40) prepaid SIM cards that were inserted in the gateway that process international calls and VOIPs. More than a hundred loose SIM cards were also found.
Eleazar said they found out that the telecommunication network loses at least P700,000 a month as a result of the raided company’s illegal operations. He added that the TechResource Inc.’s illicit operations further damages the telco from SIM cards with free 24 hours connection in the internet.
The official said that with the continuous upgrade of the technology, the gateway has a built in signal jammer that control signals from nearby sites to accommodate international calls. These signal jammers are wireless and has a 500 meter radius to absorb signals to strengthen incoming and outgoing calls.
Eleazar said that the search warrant was served by members of the PNP-ACG Cyber Response Unit headed by Police Superintendent Darwin S. Miranda around 4:30 p.m. Monday in the presence of the building manager and assistant security commander of the establishment.
Arrested during the raid were Yuseke Otani, 30 years old, Japanese national; Bonna Salamat, 30 years old; Fea Alyana Viray, 22 years old; Neil Stevens Cruz, 24 years old; Ashley Solomon, 25 years old; Mark Neil Sta. Catalina, 23 years old; Keith Manuntag, 20 years old; Edna Atcha, 47 years old; Ma Ellaine Garcia, 25, years old; Jackilyn Acha, 26, years old; and Lamberto Tagguiped, 46 years old.
The PNP-ACG officers seized a number of evidence including computers, routers, telephones, SIM cards, servers, GSM gateways, laptops, CCTV cameras, cables, cellular phones and documents used by the suspects in their illegal operations.
“We are warning private companies that do not have the authority to operate using GSM gateways and that they are damaging TELCOs in revenues and government taxes,” said Eleazar.
He added that with the support of Philippine telecommunication companies, the PNP ACG can assure that Filipinos can now enjoy a safer cyber environment.
Eleazar said that the arrested persons will be charged for violation of Section 4(a)4 or System Interference of RA 10175 before the Office of the Cybercrime Task Force of the Department of Justice.