PNP-AKG says casino debt-related kidnappings ''continue to prosper''
The Philippine National Police- Anti Kidnapping Group ( PNP-AKG) has recorded 52 cases of casino-related kidnappings since 2017 as the surge of offshore gaming in the country also increased the number of syndicates.
"Casino debt-related kidnappings continue to prosper because of the influx of Chinese nationals in the country," said Police Colonel Jonnel Estomo, PNP-AKG director, in a statement Thursday.
Estomo said this has some negative effect in the country's peace and order situation.
Data from AKG showed out the 52 cases, 119 Chinese nationals were arrested for their alleged involvement in kidnap-for-ransom activities.
It added that as of June 9, 56 licensed Philippine Offshore Gaming Online companies employ about 100,000 to 250,000 Chinese workers but 30 of these companies were operating illegally.
"Casino junkets, mostly Chinese nationals, through their agents will look for their fellow citizens abroad. They entice them for a leisure visit, work or to put up a business in the Philippines," said Estomo.
He said when the prospective victims arrive, they will be lured to gamble by offering accommodations and money in the form of casino chips if they will sign a promissory note and their passports taken.
He added that the interest each time the victim wins is around 20 to 30 percent which goes to the lender as commission.
"If the victim loses, he will be detained in a different place, beaten and videos while being tortured were sent to their families abroad to coerce them in paying in exchange for (victim's) release," said Estomo.
Estomo said complaints were usually sent through emails or telephone calls from China.
Due to these incidents, the PNP-AKG coordinated with its foreign counterparts and other local government agencies.
"Intensified operations were conducted by AKG. (We) will continue to sustain (our) intelligence driven anti-kidnapping operations," said Estomo.
He said they will sustain their legal offensives against perpetrators with the full support of casino management, foreign counterparts, and other law enforcement agencies. Ella Dionisio/DMS