Korean ‘tipster’ working with corrupt cops – Central Luzon Police

Lian Buan
The Korean tipster identified by the Central Luzon Police as working with scalawag cops in Angeles City is the same man who helps rescue 3 Korean tourists

TIPSTER? Thomas Jung, the Korean identified by Central Luzon Police as working with scalawag cops, attends the case conference with investigators on Tuesday, January 31, to file his statements as a witness. Photo by Lian Buan/Rappler

ANGELES CITY, Philippines – The Central Luzon Police said on Tuesday, January 31, that a Korean living in Angeles City may be making a business out of tipping scalawag cops, telling them who among his fellow Koreans they could target for extortion.

Regional Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino told Rappler he has identified at least one Korean acting as an alleged middleman in what he calls a modus among local cops to extort money from Korean victims.

“There’s one Korean by the name of Thomas, that is his English name. I don’t know his Korean name, we have no information about his real name at this time. Definitely, we will file necessary charges against these Koreans,” Aquino said.

His name, according to sources, is Thomas Jung, but he is not facing charges at the moment. Instead he is a witness in a case filed against 7 policemen of Angeles City Station 5 for illegally arresting, detaining, and robbing 3 Korean tourists of P300,000.

Jung refused to answer questions from reporters who repeatedly sought his side from the time he arrived at the Pampanga Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Angeles Tuesday afternoon, until the time he left the fiscal’s office Tuesday night.

One of the 3 tourists, Lee Ki Hun, 35 years old, returned to the Philippines on Tuesday to file kidnap-for-ransom and robbery charges against the 7 policemen.

RETURN. Korean tourist Lee Ki Hun returns to file criminal charges against local policemen in Angeles City, Pampanga. Photo by Lian Buan/Rappler

The house they were staying at inside Friendship Plaza Subdivision – where businessman Jee Ick Joo was abducted – was raided by the station 5 cops last December 30, 2016 on grounds of illegal gambling. The cops allegedly took the Koreans’ shoes, golf clubs, jewelry and cash. (READ: Koreans and crime in Angeles City)

‘Vital witness’

The cops also allegedly detained the 3 inside station 5 for 7 hours and extorted from them a total of P300,000 before letting them go. Another Korean supposedly came to the tourists’ rescue, withdrawing from a nearby ATM and delivering the cash to the station to secure their release.

Jung, according to Aquino, was the same person who delivered the cash.

“He is the one who gave the P300,000 to Mr Park and Mr Lee at the police station 5 in Angeles City. He is that person, Thomas,” Aquino said.

The criminal charges were filed before the Angeles City Fiscal Office on Tuesday night after a 10-hour-long case conference with the investigators from the Pampanga Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Asked about the specifics of Jung’s alleged involvement in the incident and on what basis he was made a witness, CIDG Region 3 Chief Senior Superintendent Edwin Quilates simply said: “He is a vital witness to the kidnapping case.”

Jung’s links to Lee and the other two tourists are still unclear. Lee also refused to answer questions from reporters, as he and Jung left in one car. 

With them was another witness, Filipina maid Lucilyn Torres who was arrested and detained with the 3 tourists. Police sources told Rappler Torres was newly hired by the 3 tourists to help them in their rented house inside Friendship Plaza. The same sources said her alleged link to one of the 7 policemen is also being investigated.

Torres denied she knows any of the 7 policemen.

Aquino said there is an obvious pattern. ‘May modus against Koreans, ilang bases na ring ginagawa. ‘Yung apat sa pitong pulis na sangkot ngayon, apat doon ay nadawit na dati,” Aquino told Rappler in a phone interview.

(There is a modus against Koreans, this has happened a number of times. In fact 4 of the 7 policemen involved now had also been implicated in a similar case before.)

WITNESS. Filipina maid Lucilyn Torres claims she does not know any of the 7 policemen who arrested and detained her and 3 Korean tourists. Photo by Lian Buan/Rappler

‘Bad Koreans’

Aquino presided over on Tuesday a two-hour meeting attended by police directors in the region and members of the Korean community inside Camp Olivas in San Fernando, Pampanga. There he told Korean officials that if there are bad Filipino cops, “there are also bad Koreans.”

“They are the ones who pinpoint the would-be Korean victims. In short, they are the spotters, the fixers. If the cops get money, they have cut from that money,” Aquino said.

Another indication of the link between Koreans and local police was revealed in the meeting by Kyungho Yoon, consular assistant of the South Korean embassy who is based in Subic, Zambales.

According to him, there are Koreans living in Olongapo who have official IDs either from the Land Transportation Office, National Bureau of Investigation, or Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) even if they don’t work there. 

“I don’t know how they could get the IDs. And I think those Koreans with police or NBI ID, they are not the good guys,” Yoon said.

Olongapo City Police Acting Director Senior Superintendent Melchor Cabalza III said they will investigate the matter. Korean officials also acknowledged the issue and said they will take the necessary action to address the problem.


Koreans in Pampanga have their own Korean police deployed to the province by virtue of a Korean Desk created in 2015. The Korean police officer, Chief Inspector Lee Ji Hoon, is stationed inside the Pampanga CIDG office in Angeles City.

The tourist and complainant Lee will be staying in the Philippines for a few days to complete the legal processes required in filing the case. 

“We explained to (Lee) that we will  assist him in any way and we have promised to provide the security needed,” Quilates said.

The 7 policemen of station 5 have been fired on administrative charges, along with their two station commanders. Angeles City Police Chief Senior Superintendent Sidney Villaflor was also fired last week for “lacking in supervision” over his men.

Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan had earlier announced they would bolster security measures for Koreans by creating a supplementary Korean desk inside city hall. – with a report from Jun Malig/Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.