A Philippine National Police (PNP) officer said on Sunday said that groups of Chinese kidnappers in the country have been conspiring with former police officers and military personnel as their aide.
According to operations chief of the PNP’s Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) Maj. Ronaldo Lumactod, his team are looking for the Filipinos who were hired by Chinese groups.
Lumactod said in a radio interview that the Chinese men employed former policemen and soldiers as henchmen that will help them in their illegal activities, including casino debt-related kidnappings.
“We have ongoing manhunt operations against these individuals, former military and police personnel,” he said.
Lumactod stated that some of these men were officers with high positions during their service in the PNP and in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). However, he refused to reveal their positions as it might risk the operations of the police.
A source from the PNP-AKG also claimed that the ex-police officers and military personnel are the ones searching or providing safe places for the hostages.
The source further added that most of Chinese kidnappers’ allies were former noncommissioned officers.
Chinese kidnappers’ mode of operation
There have been a total of 57 cases of debt-related kidnapping since 2017, with Chinese kidnappers targeting their fellow Chinese.
The PNP-AKG said that the mode of operation of the kidnappers involves offering accommodations and loans to Chinese gamblers, who need to sign promissory notes and surrender their passports.
In case they win, 20% to 30% of their winnings must go to the moneylender as commission. On the other hand, if they lost, they would be hostaged and filmed while being beaten.
Then, the Chinese kidnappers will send the video recordings to the family in mainland China to force them to pay for the victim’s ransom.
Meanwhile, Lumactod said that the visa-upon-arrival program of the government added to the increase of debt-related kidnappings.
In a text message, PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said, “Through the Department of the Interior and Local Government, we propose for close coordination and information-sharing between PNP and BI (Bureau of Immigration) for effective monitoring of foreign visitors coming in and out of the country.”