MANILA - Police arrested Tuesday a Korean national who allegedly kidnapped a fellow Korean on March 19 and demanded a $5-million ransom for his release.
The Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) said the South Korean embassy in Manila sought help regarding the disappearance of its citizen Han Jongwook last March 28.
With the help of the consul of Korea and its police attaché, the PNP-AKG said the suspect identified as Lee Sangmin was pressured to turn himself over.
Police said Lee, whose brother was friends with Han, invited the victim to his condominium in Makati City supposedly to teach him "magic tricks."
"Na-profile niya na may kaya sa Korea, pinapunta niya sa condo niya sa Makati purposely para turuan daw siyang mag-magic trick hanggang pinasok siya sa container saka pinosas siya," PNP-AKG chief Police Brig. Gen. Glen Dumlao said.
(The suspect profiled the victim and learned that he was rich in Korea and invited him to his condominium in Makati to teach him magic tricks and proceeded to lock and chain him in a container.)
"Part siguro ng magic trick, pero ikinulong na siya doon. 'Yon ang allegation ng victim."
(This was probably part of the magic trick but he was detained there. That's the allegation of the victim.)
The suspect demanded ransom from the victim's family in Korea and, as proof of life, sent photos of the victim nude with his hands bound together.
Dumlao said the suspect had the ransom money deposited to bank accounts of fellow Korean friends to avoid the ransom being traced to him. Authorities said the account holders were not aware where the money came from.
The suspect eventually set the victim free.
PNP-AKG said they are also looking into possible motives behind the kidnapping and if the two were in cahoots.
"Although 'yung sa suspect naman, ang sinasabi niya plano nila nung victim na humingi ng pera sa tatay. Nagkakaroon kami ng in-depth investigation pero nakikita namin ngayon na deceit talaga. Pinlano nung Lee Sangmin ang pag-abduct niya," Dumlao said.
(The suspect said he and the victim planned the abduction to get money from the father. We are conducting an in-depth investigation but right now we are looking at deceit. Lee Sangmin planned the abduction.)
The PNP-AKG will file charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention against the suspect.