NEWS:Imperial Suite offered seclusion in area known for sex trade and illegal immigrants

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Mon, 30 Nov 1998 08:57:53 -0800 (PST)


Imperial Suite offered seclusion in area known for sex trade and illegal
immigrants
BY RACHEL CLARKE
South China Morning Post, November 23, 1998

A young girl splashes in the swimming pool just metres from the hotel suite
where "ministers" of the Dominion of Melchizedek set up their diplomatic
mission.

The self-contained apartment, decorated in a deep red, was allegedly the
headquarters of the false passport syndicate for more than a year.

Located at the Marmont Resort Hotel in Olongapo, a three-hour drive from
Manila, the suite offers privacy and seclusion.

The Marmont is on a side street off the main beach strip of bars and resort
hotels in an area well known for its sex trade and illegal immigrants.

It is several kilometres past the hustle of Olongapo City and Subic Bay,
the former United States naval base now designated a free port and
development zone.

Middle-aged Germans are the main long-term residents at the Marmont, with
the hotel quiet during the day before discos and pool parties start in the
evening.

Trouble is rare and the staff said they were shocked earlier this month
when immigration officers turned up to raid the 25,000 peso-a-month
Imperial Suite.

The suite's then resident Michael Chew Chin-yee, Melchizedek's "public
works minister and honorary consul for Hong Kong", was arrested there with
three Bangladeshi men. Other alleged syndicate members Stuart Mason-Parker
and Dennis Oakley were found in a house nearby.

Little was left to be found in the Imperial Suite's slightly seedy bedroom,
lounge, bathroom and kitchenette except some business cards of presumed
Melchizedek officials and a prospectus for the "Pacific Island paradise".

Also searched was one of the hotel offices rented to Melchizedek's
self-proclaimed governor, John Gillespie, which had been stripped of fax
machine, computer and other equipment and furniture.

Staff at the 156-room Marmont were unaware of the deals being done in the
Imperial Suite since Gillespie first moved in during October last year.

There was a constant stream of visitors but this was put down to the
unusual work of the business the syndicate claimed to be.

Some of the visitors were mainland Chinese or Bangladeshis, now identified
as victims of the passport-selling con, who stayed at much cheaper
guesthouses but came daily to do odd jobs for the men who said they also
planned to buy the Marmont.

The partners of the syndicate were not particularly friendly to hotel staff
according to telephone operator Diana Jose, who placed all the calls for
the men before they moved to the office with its direct line.

Days after the raids, life has returned to normal at the Marmont.

The cleaner makes her way through the rooms, a much less time-consuming job
than in the headier days before the US Navy left.

A waiter makes occasional forays to see if anyone's beer needs topping up
and Ms Jose sits in reception, no longer required to make quite so many
phone connections from the Imperial Suite.


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