UK reviews immunity rules after crash involving US diplomat's wife

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab participates in joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington, U.S., August 7, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 21 October 2019

UK reviews immunity rules after crash involving US diplomat's wife

LONDON: Britain said on Monday it was reviewing the rules which govern diplomatic immunity arrangements for US personnel at an air force base after a man was killed when his motorbike collided with a car driven by a US diplomat’s wife.
Harry Dunn, 19, died in August near RAF Croughton, a base in the central English county of Northamptonshire used by the US military. American Anne Sacoolas left Britain after the fatal crash.
“I have already commissioned a review of the immunity arrangements for US personnel and their families at Croughton,” foreign minister Dominic Raab told parliament.
“As this case has demonstrated, I do not believe the current arrangements are right and the review will look at how we can make sure that the arrangements at Croughton cannot be used in this way again.”
The government had been warned by the United States that Sacoolas was going to leave Britain, Raab also said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged President Donald Trump to reconsider a decision to let Sacoolas use diplomatic immunity to leave the country.
Trump met Dunn’s parents earlier this month in Washington, saying their meeting was “sad” but “beautiful.” In a subsequent interview the family said they felt pressure to allow the American woman to join the session.


Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

Updated 29 May 2020

Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

  • Intelligence, immigration officials investigating illegal facilities that catered mostly to foreigners

MANILA: The Philippines has intensified its crackdown on uncertified medical facilities offering treatment to people, particularly foreigners, with COVID-19 symptoms.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to help the Philippine National Police (PNP) track down foreign nationals behind the illegal clinics.
“It seems that clandestine medical clinics catering mostly to foreign nationals have sprouted and have been operating without proper authority,” Guevarra told reporters.
He said the facilities could have compromised the health of those who had undergone treatment.
“I’ll therefore ask the NBI and the BI to help the police in locating other similar underground clinics and the people running them, and if warranted, to file the appropriate charges against them,” he added.
Guevarra issued the order following a raid on Tuesday on an illegal clinic catering to Chinese patients in Makati City. Arrested in the operation were Chinese nationals Dr. David Lai, 49, and Liao Bruce, 41.
The clinic was reportedly operating without a permit, while the arrested did not have a license to practice medicine in the country.
Seized from the site were swab sticks, vials, syringes and boxes of medicine with Chinese labels — believed to be unregistered with the Food and Drug Administration.
Last week, law enforcers also swooped on a makeshift hospital for Chinese patients in the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark, Pampanga province.
The raid came after police received information that a COVID-19 patient was “undergoing medical attention” in a Fontana villa.
Arrested during the raid were Chinese nationals Liu Wei, who reportedly supervised the facility, and Hu Shiling, allegedly a pharmacist. Both were released on the same day without charge.
Immigration officials on Thursday said the duo had been placed on their watch list to prevent them from leaving the country while an investigation is underway.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said intelligence operatives will trace four of the patients, and are looking into the case of the Chinese nationals arrested in Makati.
“I’ve instructed our intelligence division to investigate if these alleged Chinese doctors are legally staying in the country,” he said.
“Should we find they violated our immigration laws, they’ll be charged with deportation cases before our law and investigation division,” he added.
“Even if no criminal charges were filed against them, they can be charged for immigration law violations if we can establish that they violated the conditions of their stay in the country.”
If criminal charges are filed, however, the BI will only deport them after their cases have been resolved or they have served their sentences, if convicted.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros called for the “immediate deportation and blacklisting” of the Chinese nationals because of their “blatant disregard of our laws.”
She added that while the Philippines is working hard to protect its people from the virus, “these criminals freely roam and pose a danger to public health.”