Casino- related kidnappings PNP-AKG’s top headaches

CASINO-related kidnapping-for-ransom cases or those involving foreign gambling addicts kidnapped by their compatriots for their failure to pay their huge loans complete with daily interests have emerged as the top headache nowadays of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG), the Journal Group learned yesterday.

This has prompted the PNP-AKG headed by Brigadier General Glenn G. Dumlao to call for legislations that will make the offense a very serious one since it is giving the country a negative image abroad. Last week, four Chinese tourists were detained by the PNP-AKG for their reported involvement in the kidnapping of one of their compatriots outside the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City following the latter’s failure to pay them his huge gambling debt.

The four were arrested in connection with the kidnapping of 29-year old Chinese national Li Bo, a native of Henan, China. It turned out that the suspects convinced the victim to borrow money from them before abducting him outside the posh casino for his failure to pay the P200,000 he borrowed from them plus its interest.

The kidnappers also recorded on video the times they beat the victim before sending the video footage to his family and friends in China thru WeChat application. Follow-up operations led in the arrest of the four and the rescue of the victim. All four have been inquested for the crime of kidnapping-for-ransom with serious illegal detention before Department of Justice Senior Assistant Prosecutor Olivia Torevillas.

The suspects are believed to be members of a casino loan shark syndicate preying on Chinese tourists in the country. Their modus operandi is to offer huge cash loans to their compatriots who are losing heavily in the casino. As soon as the victim fails to pay his debt plus huge daily interest, the syndicate will abduct him and take him to the syndicate’s hideout where they will beat him physically in front of a video camera.

The footage is then sent to the victim’s family in order for them to send the money he needs to pay the syndicate. While the PNP-AKG had scored significant accomplishments in the government’s effort to reduce KFR in the country when it marked its 7th anniversary last February, it still has a long way to go when it comes to addressing casino-related kidnappings.

“We have significantly reduced KFR cases in the country with the help of a vigilant community, the kidnapping victims who were not afraid to show their faces and our different stakeholders including the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order which have been unrelenting in their effort to support us in ensuring the arrest, prosecution and conviction of notorious kidnappers,” said Dumlao who retires today, his 56th birthday.

At present, the PNP-AKG is wary of the presence of Chinese casino loan sharks ‘kidnapping’ their compatriots for their failure to pay their gambling debts in the country.

This despite the unit’s launching of a massive crackdown against foreign nationals who have forged an ‘unholy alliance’ with some local rogues to kidnap their wealthy compatriots and demand millions of pesos in ransom.

The PNP-AKG also hunted more Chinese, Korean and Indian nationals in the country who have formed kidnapping-for-ransom gangs to abduct their wealthy compatriots with the help of their Filipino associates.

In most cases, Indian nationals arrested for kidnapping their compatriots in the country were found to have been working with Indian business groups or companies owned by their targets before.