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PNP-AKG probing ‘fake’ kidnapping of foreign nationals

THE Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) is being confronted by new foes nowadays: foreign nationals faking their own kidnapping to get money from their parents abroad or those who are being abducted by their compatriots working in POGO companies or online casinos, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

On Tuesday last week, the PNP-AKG headed by Brigadier General Jonnel C. Estomo found a Chinese national believed to have concocted a ‘kidnap-me tale’ in order to force his parents from China to pay the P700,000 he lost while playing in a Manila casino.

In a report to PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas, the PNP-AKG director said that Chen Xi Xi was found inside the Pearl Marina Tower in Parañaque City by his men following information forwarded to them by the Chinese Embassy.

It turned out that the Chinese Embassy informed the PNP-AKG that the parents of the victim have reported his abduction to the Chinese police. Following the information, Estomo said a team of AKG officers led by Major Ryan Jay Capurcos and Lt. Benito Peralta first went to Concorde Village where they failed to find Xi despite the help extended to them by security officers.

The PNP-AKG later found out from the security manager of Pearl Marina Tower that they have an employee named Xi. The AKG team went to the place and found Xi still working in his work station.

Estomo said that during questioning, the victim confirmed he owed his former employer P700,000 after losing his money in the casino.

As a result, he said he was illegally detained by his former employer and was forbidden from leaving their company unless he settled his debt.

Left with no choice, the victim said he was forced to call his parents in China and told them he had been kidnapped and asked the two to pay his P700,000 debt.

Alarmed, the two informed the Chinese police of the incident.

Estomo said that luckily, Xi’s present employer paid the whole amount he owed his previous boss but asked him to work in his POGO company.

The Chinese national refused to pursue the filing of any criminal complaint against his former employer, Estomo added.

Last week, the PNP-AKG also investigated the cases of another Chinese national and a Taiwanese national reported to have been kidnapped.

One of the two, 26-year old Chen Mingjon was said to have been kidnapped by armed men and kept in a safehouse in Silang, Cavite where he was eventually rescued unharmed by PNP-AKG operatives.

Estomo said Mingjon was found by PNP-AKG operatives in Bgy. Tibig, Silang, hours after another Chinese national went to the PNP-AKG headquarters in Camp Crame and sought the help of AKG officials in rescuing her friend.

It turned out that the complainant identified as Jiaqui Chen went to Camp Crame at 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday last week and revealed that they have already paid 53,000 RMB to the kidnappers of her friend Chen thru their Alipay account.

Estomo said that while the woman was being interviewed, she again received a text message from the kidnappers who demanded another 53,000 RMB for the safe release of their captive.

The woman said that fearing that the victim would either be killed or tortured, their company secretly transferred an additional 9,750 RMB to the suspects thru Alipay.

An hour later, the woman said she was informed by the suspects that they have released the victim and even informed her of the area where they left him thru Wechat locator.

Acting on the information, members of the AKG Luzon Field Unit led by Major Mike Diaz, accompanied by the complainant went to Bgy. Kaong, Silang where they coordinated with the Silang Municipal Police Station.

The officers later found the victim and took him to the AKG headquarters.

During an interview, the alleged victim claimed he was kidnapped by seven Filipino men and women who brought him to a house in the area where he was held in captivity.

He alleged that he was blindfolded and handcuffed by the suspects who later took her to Bgy. Kaong where he was ordered to walk towards the dark area until he was rescued by the police.

Estomo said they are also investigating the case of a Taiwanese national who claimed he was abducted by his compatriots and held against his will inside a room in Pearl Marina Tower Building located along Pacific Avenue in Parañaque City.

The official said Taiwanese Wu Keng-Hao was rescued inside Unit 24 of Peral Marina building at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday last week by members of the PNP-AKG Intelligence Research and Analysis Division following a call for assistance from Taiwan police attache, Dr. Charlie Wu who said the victim was seized around 10 p.m. last March 1 in Makati City.

The victim texted pieces of information about his supposed abduction to the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office, according to information relayed by Wu to Sinas.

Estomo said with the help of Marina Tower security officials and the local police, his men safely rescued the victim inside Unit 2824 of the building where he was found alone with nobody guarding him.

The official said they found out that the alleged kidnapping victim applied for work at Telegram Apps last February 26. The Taiwanese contacted Yinghuang Yule, a social media platform operated by a Chinese firm and was promised a monthly salary of 13,000 RMB.

On the same day, the victim said he was fetched by a purported employee of Yinghuang Yule and was brought to the Lelita Hotel in Pasay City supposedly to undergo a two-week quarantine inside Room 607.

The Taiwanese said he became suspicious when another Chinese national tried to fetch him from his room supposedly to have himself subjected to a COVID-19 test. He refused the offer.

Two days later, the man claimed he was fetched by a group of Chinese nationals who brought him to Las Piñas where he waa purportedly set to be sold for 30,000 RMB to another unidentified Chinese-run POGO firm.

Last Monday, Estomo said they learned that the man was ‘sold’ for another 30,000 RMB by his first recruiters. The firm was identified as 3+7 Company which holds office in Pearl Marina Plaza.

The official said they also learned that Unit 2824 is an ‘isolation facility’ for would-be employees of the 3+7 Company.