'Kidnapped South Korean was killed by Filipino cops'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2017 09:06 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2017 04:51 AM

South Korean businessman Ji Ick Joo. ABS-CBN News file photo

(2nd UPDATE) Filipino police officers kidnapped and killed a South Korean businessman who went missing last year in Angeles City, Philippines, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Three Filipino police officers and a former policeman were involved in the kidnapping and murder of Ji Ick Joo, the Foreign Ministry said.

Philippine authorities sent their findings to Seoul on Monday.

According to results of the investigation given to the South Korean government, Ji was strangled to death on the same day of his abduction.

The victim's remains were allegedly cremated in a crematorium operated by a former police officer. 

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has invited for questioning the workers of a funeral home where Ji's body was reportedly processed.

NBI assistant regional director Roel Bolivar confirmed on Tuesday night that Ji is dead.

Bolivar said one of their reasons for saying the missing South Korean is dead are photos from the funeral home that were shown to investigators.

He said NBI agents found Ji's ashes in the funeral parlor in Bagbagin, Caloocan City.

The victim's remains were allegedly cremated on October 19, 2016, or a day after Ji was kidnapped, the NBI said. 

The kidnappers' leader allegedly ordered the cremation.

One of the police officers accused of kidnapping Ji has surrendered to the NBI after he was linked to the crime.

PNP chief Director General "Bato" dela Rosa said SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel sought voluntary protective custody at the NBI early Monday.

He claimed Sta. Isabel has a "protector" but declined to give additional information pending investigation.

'Tokhang-for-ransom' 

A fake arrest warrant was allegedly used by the kidnappers force Ji to come with them, under the pretext of a drug-related investigation, Yonhap reported.

The victim's wife said the abductors kidnapped him in a bid to extort a ransom. 

She said she already paid P5 million but the kidnappers wanted another P4.5 million.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se has discussed the case with his Philippine counterpart, Perfecto Yasay, by phone. 

Yasay vowed a thorough investigation and punishment for those involved, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck, quoting Yun, said the case "poses concerns to the safety of South Koreans" in the Philippines. He said more than 1 million South Koreans visit the Philippines every year. - with reports from Zhander Cayabyab and Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News; Agence France-Presse