Chinese kidnap gang smashed

August 12, 2020
Chinese kidnappers

PHILIPPINE National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) director, Brigadier General Jonnel C. Estomo yesterday said they have smashed another gang of armed Chinese kidnappers prying on their compatriots in the country during an operation in Las Piñas City last Sunday.

In a report to PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the official said that two suspects were arrested during the raid at Block 5 Lot 11 in Louis Vail, Aurelia Street, BF Resort Village in Las Piñas City 11 a.m. last Sunday which also resulted in the safe rescue of two kidnapped Chinese nationals.

The arrested suspects were identified as Weng Zhiting and Cheng Guo. Rescued from their hideout were Jiang Xiao Hao and Li Weizu.

Estomo said members of the AKG Luzon Field Unit led by Colonel Villaflor Bannawagan launched the rescue operation with the support of the National Capital Region Police Office Regional Intelligence Division under Major Gen. Debold M. Sias.

The operation was conducted amid a complaint from Yang Lingyu who claimed that her husband Jiang Xiao Hao was kidnapped at Regency Salcedo in Bel-Air, Makati City around 2:45 p.m. last Friday.

The woman told PNP-AKG investigators that shortly after the abduction incident, she received a call from the kidnappers who demanded 500,000 RMB in exchange for her husband’s safe release.

Estomo said the woman complained the kidnappers also pestered her with calls ordering her to inform her husband’s family in China to pay the ransom. When the family refused to pay the ransom demand, the kidnappers reportedly beat their two captives.

He added that thru coercion, the abductors managed to get the account number of one of the two victims and transferred 80,000 RMB from their account thru an online transaction.

Estomo said that acting on the information, his men conducted the rescue operation.

Further investigation showed that the suspects used an ‘online currency exchange business’ as a means to entrap their targets. “We discovered that the suspects would entice their targets to convert their Philippine pesos thru electronic Telegram Apps and Alipay accounts, claiming they were offering a much higher rate and less hassle and faster way of exchanging money,” Estomo said.

The PNP-AKG director said many victims who abhor the long queues and lots of bank requirements could have fallen victims to the gang.

“At first, they would really give a much higher currency exchange rate to their targets during their first transaction in order to get their trust and confidence. However, during their next transaction, the suspects would kidnap their victims and demand huge amount of ransom for their release,” Estomo said.

The official said that recovered during the anti-kidnapping raid were cellular phones used by the kidnappers to call their captives’ families here and abroad, a spent 9mm cartridge, one caliber .38 live ammunition, two pairs of handcuffs and plastic straps. The guns used by the suspects during the kidnappings were not recovered however.

Last Monday, the two suspects were charged for kidnapping-for-ransom and serious illegal detention before the Department of Justice.  They are currently being held at the PNP-ACG  lock-up facility pending the issuance of commitment orders for them by the court, said Estomo.