MANILA (UPDATE) – Three Chinese inmates of the Cavite Provincial Jail went missing after they were allegedly rescued by a drug syndicate on Wednesday.
Authorities said around 20 armed men on board 2 vans stopped the vehicle carrying the 3 Chinese and a Filipino inmate while they were on their way to a hearing at the Trece Martires Regional Trial Court.
“Pinadapa na silang lahat. Kinuha na ‘yung service firearms, pati na rin mga cellphones,” said Romeo Motehermoso Jr., warden of the Cavite Provincial Jail.
The Chinese inmates were identified as Li Tian Hua, Wang Li Na and Li Lan Yan alias “Jackson Dy”.
According to Chief Inspector Roque Merdegia, Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) lead investigator, the 3 Chinese nationals are members of a “well-financed” drug group operating in Metro Manila.
“Si Li Lan Yan, ito ‘yung nahuli ng PNP-AIDSOTF way back 2003. Siya ‘yung nag-establish ng paggawaan ng shabu sa Tanza, Cavite at Silang, Cavite,” he told dzMM.
The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in Cavite suspects that the 3 were rescued by the drug group.
“Talagang high-value sila, high-profile sila kaya popondohan sila para makatakas,” said Insp. Reynaldo Magdaluyo, chief of the Cavite CIDG.
The Filipino inmate and one of the vans were later found abandoned.
Police said bullet holes were found in the recovered van, but noted that no shootout took place when the inmates were taken.
Authorities are now investigating closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras of the jail to identify the last visitors of the inmates.
They are also investigating if there was a security lapse on the part of the police escort. The inmates were escorted by 5 jail guards. -- Reports from Edwin Sevidal, dzMM; Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News