Police arrested another Chinese national for allegedly kidnapping a fellow Chinese in Makati City, adding to the rising number of gambling-related abductions that prompted the Philippine National Police (PNP) to form a task force dedicated to stopping these criminal activities.
Police identified the suspect as Zhaochun “Zhan Hao” Chen, 21. He was arrested on Wednesday (August 21) along with Mark Anthony Pareño, 24; John Muega, 24; Reyan Villanueva, 35; and Joe Marie Lavilla, 31, while reportedly trying to kidnap Ma Zhi Rui, 36.
On Monday, the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) presented to the media Libu Xu, one of the alleged kidnappers of victim Xiaoguo Bian, 25, from Shandong in China.
To address the rising cases of gambling-related kidnappings involving Chinese nationals, the PNP-AKG said it is deploying teams to areas with Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) so they can immediately respond to reports of abductions in these casinos.
“This is part of our effort to address the problem of rising number of casino-related kidnappings wherein almost all of the victims are Chinese and almost all of the perpetrators are also Chinese,” PNP-AKG Director, Col. Jonnel Estomo was quoted in a report of the Manila Bulletin.
The spokesman of the PNP-AKG, Lt. Col. Elmer Cereno, said they will also deploy intelligence operatives in all casinos. “The deployment of intelligence operatives is part of our pro-active measures to address this problem.”
The AKG has also advised all policemen, especially community precincts and police stations located near casinos, to be wary of small groups of Chinese turning over foreigners as the police force could be unwittingly exploited in extortion rackets.
The AKG said the so-called POGOs, which employs an estimated 200,000 Chinese, have probably become magnets of groups victimizing Chinese tourists who frequent these casinos.
“Consequently, it can also be attributed to the increasing numbers of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) operating in the Philippines. As of June 9, 2019, there were 56 licensed POGOs in the country, that employs an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 Chinese nationals. Yet, there were numbers (more or less 30) of illegal POGOS operating in the country,” Cereno said last week.
Since 2017, the PNP AKG recorded 52 cases of casino-related kidnappings and arrested 119 Chinese kidnappers.