FEARS have been raised against the presence of Chinese gangsters who have been sent to the Philippines by organized foreign crime syndicates not only to abduct gamblers who have fallen victims to casino loan shark rings but also to kidnap-for-ransom moneyed Chinese mainlanders and Filipino-Chinese nationals in the country.
Dozens of Chinese mainlanders have been arrested over the last few months by agents of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) for kidnapping POGO employees who have decided to quit their job after learning they were working for illegal online casino operations or Chinese tourists lured into borrowing huge amount of money from casino loan shark rings but who have failed to immediately pay their debts complete with exorbitant interest rates.
However, officers are now fearing that gangsters from China have been sent by well-entrenched foreign syndicates to engage in the kidnapping-for-ransom of Chinese mainlanders in the country and ultimately, rich Filipino-Chinese nationals.
“It’s very possible that they already have a list of targets and are just waiting for the opportune time to strike. The worse thing here is that we need a number of interpreters in dealing with these suspects once they are arrested,” one police official said on condition of anonymity.
The other day, the PNP-AKG announced the rescue of a kidnapped 32-year old Chinese national and the arrest of eight of his compatriots who are believed to have formed a kidnapping-for-ransom gang victimizing their fellows in the country.
PNP-AKG director, Brigadier General Jonnel C. Estomo said that with the assistance of a security team from Solaire Hotel and Casino, they rescued Benqin Abo Zhang along PITC Avenue in Parañaque City past 4 a.m. last Wednesday.
The victim, billeted at Garden 2, Bayview Hotel in Pasay City when he was abducted was found with both his hands wrapped with packaging tape and in blindfolds by his rescuers.
It appears from initial investigation that the suspects and the victims are not connected with POGO or Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations in the country. However, the victim appears to have been targeted amid beliefs from many of the suspects that he could pay them a sizeable amount of ransom money.
In a report to PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the PNP-AKG director said that during an interview, the victim narrated his abduction and described the suspects as well as the vehicle they used in snatching him.
Estomo said that while roaming the same area where the victim was rescued, his men later spotted the suspects’ vehicle: a black Ford Everest with conduction sticker CO P870 and tried to accost its occupants.
However, the SUV’s driver stepped on the gas prompting the PNP-AKG operatives to give chase until the suspects were cornered at Marina Street in Dongalo, Parañaque City shortly after the same vehicle hit the right middle portion of one AKG vehicle.
Estomo said that the suspects surrendered after seeing there would be no escaping for them.
The suspects were identified as Guohua Li,39; Guanping Zou,41; Congcong Wang,33; Yue Ni,25; Min Wu,24; Fangyu Liu,29; and Zhaodi Fang,29.
Li, Zou and Wang are all male Chinese nationals billeted at the City of Dreams Hotel and Casino in Pasay City. On the other hand, the rest of the suspects are females who were found to be occupying separate rooms of the Oriental Place in Makati City.
Estomo said that recovered from the suspects’ possession were one caliber .45 pistol with four live ammunition and assorted mobile phones. The suspects’ SUV was impounded by the PNP-AKG.
All arrested suspects are now being interrogated at the PNP-AKG headquarters prior to the filing of criminal charges against them, said PNP-AKG public information officer, Major Ronaldo M. Lumactod Jr.