BI lawyers seek deportation of taho-throwing foreign student

Paterno Esmaquel II
BI lawyers seek deportation of taho-throwing foreign student
Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente says the taho-throwing incident, which he called a display of arrogance, 'shows disrespect to the country'

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) legal team recommended a deportation case against foreign student Zhang Jiale, who faces charges after throwing a cup of taho at a policeman enforcing the no-liquids policy at a train station.

Zhang, 23, is a freshman fashion student at the School of Fashion and Arts Design Institute in Makati City. 

“Our legal team saw that there was probable cause to file a deportation case against her,” said BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval in a statement Tuesday, February 12. “The BI can file a case motu proprio, especially since there are photos showing what happened.”

Sandoval said the Philippines could deport Zhang “for posing as a risk to public interest in violation of immigration laws.”

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente also said he was dismayed at Zhang’s actions. “This is an utter display of disobedience and arrogance against a person of authority. The Bureau will not tolerate such acts, as this shows disrespect to the country,” Morente said.

The National Capital Region Police Office earlier said it would recommend that Zhang be declared as an ‘undesirable alien,’ “which will eventually be the basis for her deportation.” 

Police have filed assault complaints against Zhang, said the Metro Manila Eastern Police District. 

Zhang’s actions at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) on Saturday, February 9, have fueled outrage online and offline. Vice President Leni Robredo said the taho-throwing incident was also an insult to the Philippines, as the opposition leader also questioned the “special treatment” given to China by the Philippine government.

The BI said she last arrived in Manila in October 2018 with a special resident retiree’s visa. She will be placed on the BI watch list once the deportation charge against her is approved. –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at