THE Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) headed by Colonel Jonnel N. Estomo today will lead the 1st ever summit on casino-related kidnapping incidents in the country aimed at coming up with a ‘whole-of-the-nation’ approach in addressing the menace.
A brainchild of the PNP-AKG Advisory Council, the historic summit to be held at the Novotel Hotel will be participated by top officials from the PNP-AKG, the Department of Justice, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or PAGCOR and the Chinese Embassy represented by Consul Chen Chao.
Speakers include DoJ Anti-Kidnapping Task Force chairman and Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony D. Fadullon, Special Assistant to the PAGCOR chairman, lawyer Joey Tria and PNP-AKG official, Lt. Col. Joan L. Montero.
PNP chief, General Oscar D. Albayalde will also give an inspirational message during the start of the summit which aims to identify problems and challenges confronting the government in its effort to address the kidnapping cases and the need for a strategic partnership and collaboration between all concerned government law enforcement agencies, foreign embassies, security officials of casino-hotels and the public.
The Journal Group earlier reported that at least 37 incidents of kidnappings, illegal detention and abduction involving Chinese nationals have been recorded by the Southern Police District since 2016 to date with authorities suspecting that majority of them were connected with casino loan shark syndicates.
SPD director, Brig. Gen. Nolasco K. Bathan reported that so far this year, there were already six ‘kidnappings’ of Chinese nationals in the SPD jurisdiction, three of them in Parañaque City.
The SPD reported to National Capital Region Police Office director, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar that majority of the cases were jointly investigated by the concerned units with the PNP-AKG.
The suspects are known for approaching their targets and offering them huge loan with a 20 percent interest for every winning bet.
The PNP-AKG had raised concern over cases of Chinese nationals concocting ‘kidnapping-for-ransom’ tales after they were victimized by casino loan shark syndicates that lent them money while playing in casinos.
One of them identified as Liang Qi confessed he fabricated a kidnapping story after he was found by PNP-AKG agents outside the Bayview Park Hotel in Manila.
The ‘kidnapping’ of Liang Qi was reported to the PNP-AKG by the China Embassy after its help was sought by the man’s distraught father from China.
It turned out that the supposed kidnapping victim checked in at the hotel with two fellow Chinese nationals. During questioning by the PNP-AKG, Liang Qi confessed he was kidnapped by his compatriots after he failed to pay the P500,000 cash they lent him after he lost heavily on the casino tables.
“He confessed that he contacted thru We Chat his father in China and asked him to send him 70,000 RMB or roughly P490,000 in order to pay the suspects,” Estomo said.
Since 2017, the PNP-AKG said a total of 112 Asian nationals including 106 from Mainland China have been arrested by PNP agents for their involvement in ‘casino-related’ kidnappings-for-ransom.