14 others still undergoing preliminary investigation
MANILA - (UPDATED) The Department of Justice (DOJ) has cleared 30 of 44 alleged members of a loan shark syndicate charged for the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Singaporean national Wu Yan.
In an 11-page inquest resolution dated July 20, the DOJ said there was no probable cause against the foreign nationals, most of whom are Chinese.
Those cleared were Li Jia Long, Pan Wei Jun, Chen Chao Yi, Chen Guo Xiong, Wang Min, Meng Hao, Pao Xi, Huan Dong Chuan, Yan Xiao Tao, Lin Bing Wen, Kang Cai Chun, Xie Qing Yun, Lin Zhi Tian, Li Lian Den, Qing Chi, Zhu Chong Guang, Lin Feng Bin, Liu Peng, Zhang Fu Xing, Li Yun, Zeng Wei, Wang Fei, Zhang Cheng Jian, Lin Chao, Zou Guan Bao, Rong Yi Wang, Li Hong Bing, Yuan Dan, Huan Tian Peng, and Lin Yung Long.
Fourteen others are still undergoing preliminary investigation.
The DOJ said they “had not been identified by [Wu] as part of the
group that kidnapped her."
The accused group allegedly operated inside Metro Manila casinos targeting high rollers.
"Not an iota of evidence was presented [during the inquest
proceedings] to show that they conspired with the alleged kidnappers of complainant Wu Yan. Not even a single act can be imputed against them,” read the resolution, signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Phillip Dela Cruz and approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon and Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr.
The DOJ further stressed that “[a] person to be guilty of crime, must commit the crime himself or he must, in some manner, participate in its commission or in the fruits thereof.”
Wu had claimed she was forcibly taken on July 17 at Solaire Resorts and Casino and taken to Bayview International Towers in Parañaque City, where she was held and beaten up by alleged members of the syndicate, and even threatened to be killed unless they receive $180,000 in exchange for her freedom.
The Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) rescued Wu the next day.
Fourteen other respondents decided to seek a full-blown preliminary investigation.
These include respondents Ng Yu Meng, Goh Kok Meong, Chen Jing Wang, Chen Cheng Feng, Deng Kong Zhi, Ou Min, Chen Jia Yang, Cai Si Yang, Cheng Zai Zheng, Zheng Wei Xiong, Wu Shi Zhu, Huang Lifang, Li Xiang Hu and Ou Fang.
Ng and company submitted counter-affidavits on July 24. Wu was given up to July 31 to submit her reply.
The PNP-AKG meanwhile said it respects the DOJ's decision, admitting that the suspects were cleared due to insufficient evidence.
"Insufficient 'yung evidence namin in as far as mai-connect 'yung conspiracy theory. 'Yung batas talaga, very specific, kasi ito kidnapping, kung sino lang 'yung involved talaga doon sa crime na 'yun. Ang hirap kasi i-prove 'yung conspiracy, at saka ang dami nga naman," said PNP-AKG Director Senior Supt. Glenn Dumlao.
Dumlao said only those who were positively identified by the victim during the police line-up were charged.
"Very strict 'yung batas natin na kung sino lang 'yung in-identify, which is 15 lang na-identify niya kasi 'yun lang ang kasama niya sa kwarto," he said.
Though the other suspects were cleared, Dumlao said they may still face deportation or inclusion on the immigration blacklist since some of them carry invalid visas.
"The mere fact na involved sila sa crime and then meron kaming certification coming from the Entertainment City that they are really engaged in gainful employment by being agents ng mga loan sharks, plus 'yung violation ng stay nila, it would be a ground for them na i-deport and blacklist. Hindi na sila makakabalik dito."
- with Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News