8 suspects identified in kidnap-killings of Chinese national, Chinese-American in the Philippines

by Admin
8 suspects identified in kidnap-killings of Chinese national, Chinese-American in the Philippines

SINGAPORE: Philippine authorities have identified eight suspects in the kidnap-killings of a Chinese national and Chinese-American that prompted a diplomatic intervention by Beijing and a call for Manila to swiftly find and punish the perpetrators.

The victims reportedly arrived in the Philippines in late June to seek business opportunities but were kidnapped and killed days later. The case came to the public eye on Jul 2 when the Chinese embassy in the Philippines released a statement. 

Five of the suspects are foreigners while the remaining three are Filipino nationals, according to Philippine news reports citing Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. None are in police custody.

“We have names and the case has good progress … (The Anti-Kidnapping Group shared that) they are organising other documents and they are now preparing to file the case,” Philippine National Police spokesperson Jean Fajardo said in a press briefing on Tuesday (Jul 9), reported the government-run Philippine News Agency (PNA).

She highlighted that the Anti-Kidnapping Group requested not to divulge too much details. The victims’ families and the Chinese embassy have also requested a discreet investigation “as much as possible”, Ms Fajardo added.

Initial investigations showed the victims were meeting other Chinese nationals for a business venture and were welcomed by a “still unknown group” upon their arrival in the country on Jun 20, reported PNA.

They had managed to contact their families that same day, Ms Fajardo shared.

But a day later, the wife of one of the victims received demands for ransom of 5 million yuan (US$687,660). After negotiations, the amount was lowered to 3 million yuan and sent to the kidnappers.

On Jun 23, a lawyer of one of the victims reported the matter to Chinese authorities, who then relayed the information to the Philippine police, PNA reported.

At some point, the family of the abducted Chinese national appealed for assistance, prompting the Chinese embassy to intervene through diplomatic channels to ask for a swift rescue.

But the bodies of the two victims were eventually found on Jun 24. Local residents in a village in Caramines Sur, northwest of Quezon, found them wrapped in a blanket beside a cliff, reported Chinese news outlet China Daily.

In its Jul 2 statement, the embassy said it had made representations to the Philippine government, urging Manila to step up efforts in handling the case and to “swiftly apprehend and punish the killers”.

There have been recent cases of Chinese nationals being kidnapped in the Philippines. Most such cases have been reportedly related to illegal gambling, as well as telecom and internet fraud.

In early June, four Philippine police officers were arrested for abducting four foreigners  – three Chinese nationals and a Malaysian – in Manila for ransom.

According to news reports, the four foreign tourists were riding in a car when it was flagged down by officers riding a motorcycle. A group of armed men then dragged them into a van.

Two of the tourists managed to escape and notified the authorities. The other two were freed overnight after the payment of a 2.5 million Philippine peso ransom.

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