The Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group said three more Chinese were reportedly kidnapped after failing to pay their debts to loan sharks in casinos.
Supt. Glicerio Cansilao, chief of the AKG investigation unit, said the cases were reported by anti-crime watchdog Movement for Restorationn of Peace and Order.
Teresita Ang See, founding chairperson of MRPO, said the victims are still being held by their captors.
“The mother of one of the victims appealed for help because her son had just arrived in the Philippines to work but fell prey to loan sharks,” Ang See told The STAR.
She said the lack of complaints against members of the kidnap-for-ransom ring, headed also by Chinese nationals, encourage the suspects to kidnap more Chinese.
“We appeal to the authorities to ask the victims to cooperate and pursue the cases. In one case, the victim was rescued but did not return for the hearing. In another case, the victim submitted an affidavit of desistance after AKG filed the case. The AKG wasted its time, effort and resources to rescue them but they refused to file cases,” Ang See said.
At least 13 Chinese were kidnapped from January to September this year after failing to pay their debts to casino financiers, The Star reported. “That nine months will make an average of one case a month. In fact, some of those who paid ransom paid hundreds of millions.”
“It is easy money for these syndicates, so what you expect is the situation to worsen because it is very enticing. It is very lucrative business. It is as if you tell syndicates that crime pays and pays very lucratively,” she added.
She said unless these problems are promptly addressed, more Chinese will be targeted since China has a policy of enticing their citizens to visit the Philippines. “If they come here (and are kidnapped by loan shark syndicates) this gives the Philippines a very bad reputation.”
Ang See added the proceeds from the kidnappings could be used for other criminal activities such as money laundering, drug pushing, gunrunning and contract killing.
The AKG said the loan sharks’ modus operandi is to look for foreigners and lure them to play in casinos.
If the foreigner loses and cannot repay the gambling debt, the loan sharks kidnap them and contact their families to demand ransom payment, which is often much more than the original debt.
The MRPO urged President Duterte to resolve the cases. The Department of Foreign Affairs should warn visa applicants from China to be wary of their compatriots luring them into playing in the casinos.
The Chinese Embassy, on the other hand, should issue the same warning to their citizens traveling to the Philippines.
Cop linked to kidnap-slay of casino operator surrenders
A police officer allegedly involved in the kidnapping and killing of Chinese casino junket operator Carlos Abad Tan, 55, has surrendered.
SPO1 Benjamin Pagarigan of the Quezon City Police District turned himself in to the police Anti-Kidnapping Group on Oct. 27.
The police said they are still searching for suspects Supt. Johnny Lapat Orme and Alex Gozun.
Four suspects identified as PO3 Rodel Estonactoc, PO1 Rolando Albios, dismissed PO1 Ramil Espejo and civilian asset Erwin Escobido, who were linked to a syndicate behind the abduction and killing of Tan, died in a shootout with police in Carmona, Cavite last Oct. 20.
Tan’s body was found in Tagaytay City on Oct. 23.