Police busted an Indian-led kidnap-for-ransom group after a group leader and three gang members were arrested.
The arrests – made separately in Lupao and Rizal towns, Nueva Ecija – were made after the group took the P600,000 ransom payment from victim Indian businessman Handvinder Singh, says Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police.
Arrested were Indian national Gurmeet Singh, one of the two leaders of the group; Jerry Cabading, alias Tolox; Francisco Castro, alias Gorilla; and Gregorio Peña, alias Junjun. Another gang leader, Kikker Singh, remains at large. The gang may have been involved in eight other kidnapping for ransom cases, mostly involving Indian nationals, in Pampanga, Bataan, Nueva Ecija and Metro Manila.
Singh was abducted in Barangay Sta. Barbara in Llanera, Nueva Ecija March 9, and released March 25, a day after the ransom was paid. The original ransom demanded was P10 million. Seized from the suspects were three .45 pistols and a hand grenade. The P600,000 ransom was recovered.
Kidnapped ship officers rescued
Meanwhile, government troops rescued Laurencio Tiro, chief engineer of tugboat Super Shuttle T/B 1, from his abductors in Basilan on March 27. Tiro was rescued at Sitio Sasa, Barangay Basakan, Hadji Mohammed Ajul town barely three days after his tugboat captain, Aurelio Agac-ac, was rescued in the same area on March 25. Agac-ac and Tiro were seized aboard their ship off Sibago Island in Basilan on March 23.
Malaysian sailors freed
Abu Sayyaf bandits freed three kidnapped Malaysian sailors in Sulu on March 26, after more than eight months of captivity. The Abu Sayyaf is an ISIS-affiliated jihadist terror group that has been blamed for the spate of cross-border attacks in Malaysia. Mohammad Ridzuan Bin Ismail, 33; Fandy Bin Bakran, 27, and Mohammad Jumadil Rahim, 24 were released unharmed to the Joint Task Force Sulu on March 26.
Abductors abandoned two of their companions – Abd Rahim Summas, 63, and Tayudin Anjut, 46 – in Kalingalang Caluang town when they saw soldiers tracking them in the area. The sailors, crew of Tugboat Serudong Tiga 3, were abducted off Lahad Datu town in Sabah on July 18, 2016. A P30-million ransom was demanded for each sailor. It is unknown if the ransom was paid.