SCORES of ‘kidnap-me’ cases’ have been recorded by the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) headed by Colonel Jonnel C. Estomo this month prompting officials to reiterate their call on Congress to pass a new law which will penalize hoax kidnapping in the country, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
The latest of these fake kidnapping-for-ransom cases include a male Chinese national in Makati City who concocted a KFR tale although an investigation showed he incurred huge debt from a casino loan shark syndicate and came out with the story to force his family to send him money; another is a case of a Filipina who was found to have fabricated a kidnapping yarn in an effort to get money from her American husband in La Union; and the third a case of a woman who was reported to have been abducted in Manila although it turned out to be a mere ‘family problem.’
Estomo said these fake KFR stories should be stopped since they are not only wasting precious police resources but also gives the country a negative image abroad since they are being reported as ‘genuine KFRs’ by the international press.
“These hoax kidnappings are wasting the resources of our government, the police in particular since we have to investigate all kidnapping complaints being relayed to our office. Just imagine the consternation of our investigators when they discover that the incidents they are investigating are fake or hoax kidnappings,” said Estomo , a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw-Diwa’ Class of 1992.
Last Thursday, the PNP-AKG investigated the case of a 30-year old resident of The Grand Tower in Vito Cruz, Manila who was reported to have been abducted by a group of men.
Estomo said Noia Mae Mendoza was later found by AKG agents at Room 16 of the Red Planet Hotel located at no. 667 Arquiza Street in Ermita, Manila and was reunited with her 60-year old mother.
Prior to that, the family of the victim reported that she failed to come home last Thursday evening and began harboring suspicions she could have been abducted. The PNP-AKG later found out that she was at the Red Planet Hotel where a rescue operation was planned.
The operation did not push thru as it turned out that it was not a real kidnapping and that the victim was safely staying in the hotel room.
Estomo also clarified reports regarding an alleged KFR incident in Barangay Olympia in Makati City wherein one Lein Kun was reportedly kidnapped by four men. He said that their investigation showed that the alleged KFR victim borrowed money from the suspects after losing terribly in the casino tables.
After losing again, the foreigner failed to pay his debt to the suspects who grabbed him in an effort to force him to call his family abroad and ask them to send him money. The incident was first investigated by the Makati City Police Station headed by Col. Rogelio P. Simon after a friend of Kun told the Makati police that the captors of Kun was demanding P100,000 for his safe release.
“We have learned from the Makati police that it was not a real kidnapping case but a mere robbery-extortion case and they have already clarified it in their final report,” said Estomo. He said the Makati police did not refer the incident to the AKG which is the main PNP unit tasked to investigate KFR cases in the country since the elements of kidnapping was absent in the case of Kun.
The Makati police conducted an operation which led in the recovery of Kun and the arrest of his three alleged abductors identified as Sum Yi Cheng, 25; Zhang Di, 29; and, Wei Bao Kun, 31.
However, the Makati police was forced to release the suspects after the supposed victim failed to show up to testify against them and later returned to China without showing any interest in prosecuting the three, said PNP-AKG spokesman, Lieutenant Col. Elmer Cereno.
The third ‘kidnap-me’ case was recorded by the PNP-AKG in La Paz, La Union and involved one Adora Taberna,45, a resident of Barangay Gana in Caba municipality.
Estomo said they investigated Taberna’s case after her daughters received text messages from unknown callers demanding P5 million for the safe release of their mother.
Around 1 a.m. yesterday, PNP-AKG operatives rescued the alleged KFR victim inside the Value Star Inn located at AB Fernandez Street in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.
During questioning, the woman claimed she was abducted by two gunmen in Caba, La Union and brought to Dagupan City. However, an investigation showed that the woman who is locked up in a dispute with her American husband merely concocted a kidnapping tale. “It was a hoax kidnapping story,” said Estomo.