Six years after leaving Scotland to pursue a Filipina he met online, 61-year-old Frank Bohlert has found himself loveless, penniless and inside a cramped prison cell in the Philippines.
The divorced father-of-one initially found success in his newly adopted country, and was able to set up Twilights Rock Bistro, a business that he and his online sweetheart, Arlyn, managed for several years.
However, an accusation got him locked up inside a holding cell with 11 other people in Bagong Diwa jail in Taguig, Manila.
According to The Press and Journal, his girlfriend had alleged him of mistreating her, and he is now being kept in prison despite not having any charges filed against him. The detention center also has other foreigners who are being held without charge.
Since his incarceration on September 14, his relatives claimed that his belongings — including his car, phone and laptop — have been stolen from his house.
Immigration officials have so far refused to authorize his release despite appeals from family members. His relatives fear that he may be detained for a long period of time without a proper court procedure.
Bohlert wrote about his situation in a series of Facebook posts this week:
“I have been illegally detained, no arrest, no charges, no nothing, only allegations against me from HER.”
“A friend went to my house to get some things for me, she said that everything is now gone, my bank books, chequebooks, immigration documents, cell phone, laptop, even my car is gone! Is there no justice in the Philippines!”
According to Bohlert’s stepbrother, Graeme Simpson, his family sought the assistance of the Foreign Office to get him home, the Daily Record reports.
“He is stuck at the moment and we’re trying to get him out of there but it is not easy,” Simpson was quoted as saying.
“His visa was about to run out so he was getting ready to go to the immigration office and renew it. He got a knock on the door from the police and she made these allegations of cruelty. They took him and locked him in a cell.”
“He’s sleeping on this tiny mattress,” Simpson continued. “Human rights people went in to see them in the cell on Tuesday and they were horrified by the conditions. It is totally overcrowded.”
Simpson, who is working with Bohlert’s daughter Eva to bring him back home, explained that his stepbrother traveled to the Philippines to start a new life.
He noted that on his last trip back to Scotland two years ago, Bohlert seemed to be enjoying life in his adopted country.
“He seemed to be fine, he has been running a bar out there,” Simpson said. “Everything is in her name because only Filipino people can buy property.”
Scotland’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently in contact with the Philippine authorities to work on Bohlert’s release.