MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) arrested on March 23 four foreign nationals – three Chinese and one Vietnamese – who were suspects in the alleged kidnapping and killing of Filipino businessman Mario Sy Uy in Quezon City.
Uy was on his way to his store in Barangay Veterans Village last March 18 when he was abducted by armed men, according to a press release from Chinese-Filipino anti-crime organization Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO).
A report in the Philippine Star said the cops arrested suspects Bei Huimin, 30 years old; Shen Jielong, 26, and Sun Xiao Hui, 26, all Chinese nationals in Parañaque. They were picked up by the police after Bei withdrew the ransom money deposited in her bank account. She was accompanied at that time by Shen and Sun.
Meanhile Vietnamese suspect Hong Phuc Le, 33, was arrested in Taguig after an earlier ransom of P560,000 was also deposited in her bank account. The victim’s cellphone was also confiscated from Hong during the arrest.
The PNP-AKG said in a separate statement that the suspects received over P1 million in ransom. The authorities added though that it appeared the suspects never intended to release the victim.
“Una, P300,000 lang, at naibigay naman ng family ang agreed amount. Pero tinorture pa rin nila iyong victim, pinutulan pa rin nila ng daliri sa paa (At first, only P300,000 was asked for, and the family gave the agreed amount. But they still tortured the victim and cut off his toe),” Police Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Manongdo, AKG-PNP spokesperson, told GMA News on Sunday, March 26.
“After five days of negotiations and multiple online and bank deposit payments, his body was found in Tanza, Cavite, with gunshot wounds and torture marks, including a big toe cut off, the same way POGO (Philippine offshore gaming operations) syndicates, treat their victims,” MRPO said in a statement released on Saturday, March 25.
“But Uy had never set foot in a casino nor knew anything about online gambling. He worked six-and-a-half days a week at his store,” MRPO added.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, however, said in a press statement on Monday, March 27, that the police should already be looking into the suspects’ links with POGOs.
“As our Senate Committee on Women previously uncovered, POGOs have been responsible for numerous criminal activities, such as prostitution, tax evasion, and illegal detention. In fact, our office assisted a Taiwanese national, alias Ivy, who escaped from a POGO company, after being illegally detained and sexually harassed, among others,” Hontiveros added.
The senator added that online gambling has only brought crimes into the country. “Should this incident be proven to be POGO-related, it will only strengthen our longstanding call to kick POGOs out of the country,” Hontiveros said.
She also urged Malacañang to support the Senate’s proposal to ban POGOs in the Philippines, which were introduced during the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte. – Ryan Macasero/Rappler.com
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