MANILA — Authorities nabbed eight kidnapping suspects, including two Chinese nationals, in separate operations, the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Anti Kidnapping Group (AKG) said on Wednesday.
In a press briefing, AKG spokesperson, Lt. Col. Elmer Cereno said Deng Shiwu, 30; and Ou Jiamin, 28, were arrested in another case of gambling-related kidnapping in Parañaque City.
The suspects allegedly kidnapped Li Ning and Yang Yang who were held inside a room at Okada Resort and Casino.
On September 5, the suspects offered a free three-day stay to the victims at the hotel-casino on the condition that they will change their money to casino chips.
The victims transferred 1 million Chinese renminbi to the account given to them by the suspects in exchange for the chips.
At around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Deng handed to the victims PHP1 million worth of chips in Pit 95 of the SunCity Junket operator inside the facility.
After losing all their chips within a couple of hours of gambling, they proceeded to the VIP lobby of the casino and then returned to room 1030. Deng told them not to leave and instead tried to convince them to borrow money from a group.
Upon waking up on Monday, they noticed that Deng was sleeping and blocking the door of their room.
Sensing that they were in danger, the victims called up their friend in Beijing, China to call the hotel’s service hotline.
The hotel management informed the AKG operatives and conducted a police operation that resulted in the rescue of the victims and arrest of two Chinese nationals.
The PNP-AKG said casino debt-related kidnapping has climbed to 54, wherein almost all of the suspects and victims are Chinese.
Authorities also arrested and filed cases against more than 120 Chinese suspects.
Meanwhile, AKG operatives arrested six suspects identified as Reynaldo Parolina, 41; Rico Castillo, 45; Nathaniel Aragon, 35; Christopher Bagro, 38; Francis Reyes, 41; and Melvin Culala, 39, on September 6.
The group allegedly kidnapped Eugenio Santos,39, near his house in Quezon City and Alvin Bangug, in a hotel-casino in Parañaque on September 6.
The suspects asked them to pay the PHP2 million which the victims supposedly borrowed from Culala supposedly for a business partnership.
They were given until 5 p.m. of the said day to produce the money. Santos’ family then coordinated with the AKG to rescue the victims, agreeing to give the suspects a land title as collateral.
The meeting was set in a coffee shop in Parañaque where the police arrested Reyes, Castillo, Aragon and Bagro after receiving the land title.
While the suspects were being transported to the AKG office in Camp Crame, one of them received a call from Culala asking if they have already gotten the “payment,” prompting the police to launch another operation which resulted in Garcia and Culala’s arrest.
In an interview with reporters, Santos admitted that Culala “invested” PHP2 million for their buy-and-sell business partnership but they lost the money after betting it in casino gambling.
Authorities seized from the suspects a Glock 23 cal. 40 pistol.
The suspects will be charged with kidnapping for ransom with serious illegal detention and illegal possession of firearms. (PNA)