Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a travel alert for the Philippines on Friday after several reported cases of con artists drugging foreign tourists in Manila and using their credit cards to make transactions.
In the notice, the ministry urged Taiwanese people traveling to the Philippines to stay on high alert and to avoid strangers who come up to them to start a conversation.
The ministry said that Taiwan's representative office in the Philippines has recently received several reports of Taiwanese tourists being drugged by scammers, who stole credit cards from the victims while they were unconscious.
The victims all reported similar situations, in which a gang of three to four Filipinos approached them when they were alone and invited them to restaurants, drugging them into deep sleep to steal their credit cards or other valuable belongings, the ministry said.
The latest case reported to Taiwan's representative office in Manila involved a Taiwanese woman who was in the Philippines to receive vocational training, according to a source.
It occurred on June 24, when the woman was approached by three other women and one man at a shopping mall and was later drugged by the conmen and remained unconscious for 24 hours, the source said.
After returning to Taiwan, the victim found unauthorized charges on her credit card during the period when she was unconscious, the source said.
The ministry warned that such scams are more likely to occur at popular tourist destinations in Metro Manila, such as the Mall of Asia, Rizal Park, the Malate district and Burgos Street.
The ministry said the representative office has reported the cases to the Philippine police and asked them to take actions to ensure the safety of foreign travelers.