MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Chinese woman who was forcibly taken by a group of men late Monday night in Makati City is an employee of a Philippine offshore gaming operations firm, and so is her live-in partner, the Makati police said Tuesday, December 10.
The victim was identified as Zhou Mei, 28, after her relatives came to the Makati Police to report the incident, said Major Gideon Ines Jr., Makati Investigation Unit chief.
The documents found at the spot where she was kidnapped – at the corner of Perea Street and Paseo de Roxas – also bore information that helped police identify the victim and pursue leads on the case.
Ines said a certain Mr Jianwei, a Chinese national, is a person of interest in Zhou's abduction. Jianwei's name appears on a deed of sale recovered from the site of the abduction. Jianwei appears to have bought a vehicle from Zhou and her partner, Chen Tangbin, also a POGO worker.
A person of interest is not necessarily a suspect in the crime. Police look for persons of interest in a case to get information that could help in its resolution.
A gray Kia Carnival was used as getaway vehicle, but Ines said they found that the plate attached to it – LSA- 880 – officially belonged to a white Mitsubishi L300.
Ines said that when policemen went to the condominium unit where Zhou and Chen lived, the security officer told them Chen had left in a rush early Tuesday morning because he was being asked for money in exchange for Zhou’s freedom.
The couple’s condomonium is a few blocks away from the spot where Zhou was abducted.
In a separate press briefing earlier in the morning, National Capital Region Police Office chief Brigadier General Debold Sinas said it appeared the victim knew the kidnappers, based on documents found at the scene of the crime, such as an identification card and deeds of sale.
"May mga documents na nakuha...all English. [Makati City police chief Colonel Rogelio Simon] believes that it's a Chinese, Chinese 'yung mga na-involved," Sinas said.
(Documents were found, all in English. Colonel Simon believes that it's a Chinese [victim], it involved Chinese citizens.)
"Parang may personal matters about mga utang mga ganun. Kasi 'yung na-recover na mga documents, na'ndun 'yung mga pangalan eh. Parang may mga deed of sale pa doon eh. So 'yun 'yung pina-follow up ngayon...nagte-trace na ang Makati," Sinas said.
(It seemed that there were personal matters involved about debt and such. We recovered documents with names, as well as deeds of sale. So we're following that up and the Makati police are tracing it.) – with a report from Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com