In what will come across as a really startling development, a screening officer at Manila’s international airport has been caught on video swallowing US$300 (RM1,406) worth of cash which was stolen from a passenger’s wallet.
Footage from an airport security camera showed the officer, identified as Irency Morados, pushing US$300 worth of bills into her mouth.
She is then seen drinking from a water bottle handed to her by body scan operator Regino Allen.
Her supervisor, Abraham de Luna, could also be seen talking to her, as she appeared to be choking from swallowing the bills while covering her mouth with a handkerchief.
The incident happened on Sept 8.
A report by the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) said the money came from the wallet of a passenger, who handed over his shoulder bag to Morados before going through a full-body scan.
The passenger, however, noticed that his wallet was open with money inside it missing and confronted those in the screening area.
This was when Morados turned away and began swallowing the bills “to avoid getting caught”, the OTS said in its report.
But she did not notice that she had, instead, turned towards a security camera as she was stuffing the money into her mouth.
The OTS said her supervisor was suspected of being in on the scam, as he was seen approaching Morados to “apparently ensure that the bills are dispatched to preclude any evidence”.
Philippine airport authorities ordered that charges be filed against Morados.
Transportation Minister Jaime Bautista said he was seeking the “maximum penalty” against Morados.
This is the third highly publicised incident of theft at Manila’s airport in 2023. Earlier in 2023, airport security personnel were found stealing money from a Thai tourist.
Five days later, another screening officer was arrested for stealing a Chinese passenger’s watch.
In response to these thefts, the OTS ordered its personnel to stop wearing jackets and remove pockets from their uniforms.
Watch the video of the latest theft below.