Chinese student who threw ‘taho’ at MRT cop faces possible deportation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 9) — A Chinese national was arrested and faces possible deportation for throwing her cup of "taho," a soft tofu snack, at a police officer who refused her entry in line with the ban on liquids in the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3).

Police said the incident transpired at around 8:30 a.m. at Boni Station when PO1 William Cristobal prohibited Jiale Zhang, 23, from entering the MRT-3 platform.

In a press release, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the suspect "entered the baggage inspection area where two security personnel have asked her to consume first her 'taho' before entering the station, but the former insisted not to do so."

It earlier said the Chinese national "apologized and was later released by the authorities," but the Mandaluyong police said she is still under investigation. Photos showed she went through booking procedures for "direct assault and disobedience to agent of person in authority."

In a message to CNN Philippines, Metro Manila Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar said they will file a deportation case with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) against Zhang “next week.”

For it’s part, the BI said it will study possible actions against the foreign suspect. "We will be coordinating with the DOTr and the NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office) for details about the case," Spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval said in a statement.

Meanwhile, DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran said the MRT-3 management is considering banning the foreigner from all stations "given the extremely rude behavior she exhibited."

On the other hand, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin, on twitter called the event a “non-issue.”

“Let's not be trivial. This can happen anywhere to anyone in any country. Aggression by taho? Defense by the same? Boy we really need arms deals to flesh out our sense of nationhood and sovereignty,” Locsin said in a reply to a netizen who tagged him on twitter to ask if Zhang would be deported.

A post circulating on social media showed "taho" all over Cristobal's arms and upper body. It has been shared over 40,000 times in a span of three hours, as netizens expressed anger over the woman's behavior.

The DOTr appealed for the public's full cooperation and understanding, as it tightens security measures following the deadly twin blasts in Jolo, Sulu which killed at least 23 people and wounded about 100 others last January 27. MRT-3 officials on Friday cited a bomb threat received on January 3 as reason for strictly enforcing a liquids ban.

"The DOTr MRT-3 would like to stress that tighter security measures being implemented inside our trains and stations means no harm to our passengers. We are being cautious since we put in our topmost priorities the safety and security of our passengers and personnel following attacks in Mindanao," the department said. It added that eating and drinking have long been prohibited inside trains and stations, "as this can cause inconvenience, accident and delay to our operations."