PHILIPPINE National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) director, Colonel Jonnel C. Estomo yesterday said they have detained and are readying criminal charges against a cash-strapped South Korean tour guide who faked his own kidnapping in the Visayas in order to get money from his family in South Korea.
In a report to PNP chief, General Oscar D. Albayalde, the official said that 38-year old Yoo Jin Won was recovered by members of the AKG Visayas Field Unit and the Numancia Municipal Police Station inside the house of his friend Florefe Mae Bolido in Barangay Camanci Norte in Numancia, Aklan at 6:30 a.m. yesterday.
Estomo said that during a debriefing, the Korean confessed he was ‘just joking’ when he informed his mother in Korea that he has been kidnapped in the Philippines.
“He claimed he faked his kidnapping because he is in dire need of money,” the PNP-AKG director said.
According to Estomo, they investigated the case of Won following an information forwarded to them by South Korean Consul Soobok Lee and Choi Yoon Suk last Friday.
It turned out that the Korean consul reported to the PNP-AKG that the alleged kidnapping-for-ransom victim was working as a tourist guide in Angeles City in Pampanga when he disappeared.
Last September 24, the Korean’s family received a message from an unidentified caller that their son had been kidnapped and he would only be released unharmed if they would send them a US$5,000 ransom.
Estomo said that acting on the information, the PNP-AKG Visayas Field Unit in Iloilo-Bacolod led by Major Nestor Acebuche launched an operation to safely recover the alleged kidnapping victim.
The PNP-AKG agents also studied the Facebook account of the alleged kidnapping victim and focused their research on the real identity of a woman with a Korean screen name after they discovered that Yoo Jin Won was frequently conversing with her.
Estomo said that the woman with a Korean screen name was later identified as Bolido, a 32-year old native of Numancia, Aklan.
The official said that around 6:30 a.m. yesterday, the team of Maj. Acebuche, with the assistance of Numancia policemen led by Maj. Josephine Jomocan recovered the Korean inside the residence of Bolido.