Pinay linked to Korean kidnap group

By Cecille Suerte Felipe, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 03 2013 08:39 AM | Updated as of Aug 03 2013 04:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A Korean’s Filipina wife, accused of being part of a gang of Koreans kidnapping their countrymen, has been arrested, officials said yesterday.

Madel Buhay-Kim, wife of Kim Jeong Seok, was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of Yun So Woong in San Juan City on May 1, 2012, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima said in a press conference at Camp Crame yesterday.

A warrant for the arrest of Buhay-Kim was issued last July 25 by Pasig City regional trial court Judge Myrna Verano. The suspect was apprehended at her house in Bacoor, Cavite, according to a report by PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group officer-in-charge Senior Superintendent Neri Ilagan.

Ilagan said the kidnappers took $7,500 and P777,000 cash as well as a P20,000 watch from Yun, who was released the following day.

The gang’s alleged mastermind, Choi Se Yong, was arrested in Thailand. “We failed to immediately file charges against him allowing him to fly to Thailand. But with our coordination with Thailand, he was arrested,” Ilagan said.

Buhay-Kim’s husband was arrested on Oct. 5, 2012 while another alleged gang member, Kim Sung Kon, was caught last May 18.

Ilagan said the group was also linked to the kidnapping of Kwon Young Hoon, Hong Seok Dong and Yoon Chul Han, who remain missing.

He said the gang’s modus operandi is to lure their fellow Koreans into visiting the Philippines as tourists.

“They will then offer their services as tourist guides until they gain the victims’ trust. At an opportune time, the group will kidnap the tourist and demand ransom from the victim’s family in Korea,” Ilagan said during yesterday’s press conference.

A Korean diplomat, Hong Dukic, thanked the Philippine government and the PNP for arresting the Korean kidnap suspects and their Filipino companions. “You make the Philippines a safer place for Koreans,” he said.