Number of kidnappings involving Chinese nationals rises — police

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 11) — Cases of kidnapping involving Chinese nationals have risen in the last three years, according to police data.

Data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) anti-kidnapping group show such incidences doubled from 2017 to November 2019 — in 2019 alone, at least 58 Chinese nationals were kidnapped.

Police said most of the kidnappings are because of casino-related activities.

Col. Joel Saliba, spokesperson of the PNP anti-kidnapping group, said, "Usual style for casino related. They will be inviting tourists to come over and play...and once naubos (‘yung pera), then they will be lending money...they will be forced to pay within that day and since wala na silang pera, they will be kept and kidnapped."

[Translation: The usual style is casino related. They will be inviting tourists to come over and play...and once the money runs out, they will lend them more...they will be forced to pay within that day and because they have no more funds, they will be kept and kidnapped.]

Saliba added a similar modus was also being used in Philippine offshore gaming operators or POGO-related cases this year.

"When they (Chinese nationals) decide to retire or resign, they will be held and they will be asked to pay the admin fee, their board and lodging, etc. Unless they pay, that’s the time they will be released. For some, they will be tortured," he said.

But while the numbers may be alarming, Saliba said there is no reason for the public to panic.

"Although disturbing siya...hindi dapat matakot yung public kasi within their group lang ‘to, within their circle, so kung wala kang utang sa kanila, hindi ka nila gagalawin," he said.

However, police admit they have yet to catch the leaders behind recent kidnapping incidents because most of the time, arrested suspects and rescued victims refuse to cooperate.

READ: Husband, Chinese national tagged as persons of interest in Makati abduction – police

Police say taking videos of such incidents can help, but it would be best to run to the nearest police station to report the incident.