BELIEVE it or not but suspects in casino-related kidnap-for-ransom, mostly Chinese nationals simply get away with their crime due to the lack of interest by their victims to prosecute their cases and their penchant to immediately leave the country as soon as they are rescued from their ruthless captors.
Amid the lack of complainants needed to file cases against them, police specifically the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group are forced to obey orders from inquest prosecutors to release the suspects on pain of being charged with illegal detention, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
This is the reason why the PNP-AKG headed by Colonel Jonnel C. Estomo has pressed the need to sustain the legal offensive and an intensified intelligence-driven operation against foreign syndicates involved in casino-related kidnapping-for-ransom cases in the country.
Most importantly, the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw-Diwa’ Class of 1992 said they are asked Congress to pass new laws that will ensure the prosecution of syndicates involved in casino-related kidnappings in Metro Manila.
The official told the Journal Group that the booming hotel and casino industry in the country over the past few years actually had led to the influx of foreign gamblers, majority of them Chinese nationals who are being enticed by casino loan shark rings to visit Manila to gamble so that they can fall prey to their illegal activities.
According to the official, the PNP-AKG has recorded 52 cases of casino-related kidnappings since 2017 when Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) hubs started. Majority of the victims were Chinese nationals, investigations of which led to the arrest of 119 Chinese kidnappers.
So far this year, the PNP-AKG has already investigated 19 ‘casino-related’ kidnappings which saw the abduction of 15 Chinese, one Australian, one Korean, one American and two Malaysians.
Estomo said the casino kidnappers’ modus operandi is simple: The casino junket operators, mostly Chinese nationals through their agents will look for their fellow citizens abroad and entice them to visit the country for a leisure trip or work or put up a business here.
Eventually upon arrival, the agents will lure them to play in different casinos in Metro Manila where they are being offered free accomodations within the casino premises and money to borrow in the form of casino chips provided that the victim will sign a promissory note and their passport will be confiscated as a form of guarantee.