APART from being a usual ‘base of operation’ of casino loan shark syndicates offering loans with huge interests to Chinese gamblers and abducting them for ransom if they fail to pay their debts, posh casinos are also being watched by the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) for being used as a storage facility of cars and SUVs acquired by the ring and car theft gangs from their victims, the Journal Group learned.
As of yesterday, the PNP-HPG headed by Brig. Gen. Eliseo DC Cruz is still investigating the presence of over a dozen ‘hot vehicles’ abandoned at the parking lot of the City of Dreams resort and casino complex in Parañaque City which is believed to be used to store motor vehicles pawned to loan shark rings operating in the world-class establishment.
“We are investigating the presence of suspected ‘hot vehicles’ which have been parked unattended in the area for a year, 6-months or 3-months without being used by their owners,” Cruz said.
The complaint from the City of Dreams management prompted Cruz to call on other casinos, hotels, shopping malls and other commercial establishments with big pay parking areas or those offering free parking to report to them the presence of motor vehicles left unattended for weeks or months after being abandoned by their drivers without coordinating with security officials.
Cruz said the City of Dreams management wrote them a letter regarding the presence of the questionable motor vehicles in their parking lot prompting them to investigate. “Our suspicion is that these motor vehicles could have been pawned by their owners to casino loan shark syndicates or financiers or acquired thru the ‘Rent Tangay, Rent Sangla scheme,” the PNP-HPG director said.
As of yesterday, the official said the license plates attached to the vehicles as well as their Land Transportation Office Conduction Stickers are not included in their list of wanted stolen vehicles.
“We are in the process of finding out if these motor vehicles were stolen thru the Rent-Tangay, Rent-Sangla scheme or merely pawned by their possessors to casino financiers,” Cruz said.
However, due to lack of keys, he admitted that they cannot check the engine and chassis numbers of the vehicles. The help of the LTO in determining the real owners of the vehicles has been sought by the PNP-HPG.
Other officials said there is also a possibility that similar vehicles are also parked unattended in other casino-hotels in Metro Manila.
The PNP-HPG has launched a formal investigation into the complaint of the City of Dreams management, the Journal Group learned.
One of the vehicles—a Hyundai Eon with plate no. AAY-8476 was found to be owned by one Wilfredo Sy who revealed he had sold the car to one Eugene Singson, the owner of a buy-and-sell company. Singson told PNP-HPG probers that the vehicle was sold to a Korean national who later lent it to a friend who happened to be a casino player.
Another, a Hyundai Genesis Coupe with plate no. HGC-808 belonged to one An Sujin who claimed it was borrowed by his brother who is working at the casino. The registered owner pulled out his vehicle from the area after he presented proof of ownership.
Another, a Honda City with plate no. TON-106 has been traced to one Jose Dennis Murro who can no longer be located in his last known Makati City address.
A 4th, an abandoned Hyundai Starex van with plate no. ZBL-540 was about to be taken out by one Jimmy Ligaya last September 11. However, security guards asked him to present proof of ownership of the van found to have been parked in the area for weeks.