MANILA - A cellphone video taken by members of a loan shark syndicate showed how they tortured a man who owed them money, police said Wednesday.
The victim was naked and badly beaten on his back where he sustained multiple wounds.
According to the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), this was the blackmail video shown by the casino loan shark syndicate to the victim’s family in China.
“For the family na ma-force na magbayad ng P2 million na hinihingi,” PNP-AKG Director Glenn Dumlao said.
Dumalo said the victim was able to escape from his kidnappers, who are believed to be from Pampanga, after being held for two days.
Authorities said another Chinese victim fell prey to loan shark syndicates and suffered the same fate.
“Common denominator iyung gambling problem, they result sa pangungutang dito sa mga financier and then hindi sila nagbabayad, para ma-force sila na magbayad, mato-torture sila, maipapakita sa pamilya,” Dumlao said.
The PNP-AKG said the Chinese embassy sought their assistance after the families of the victims contacted them.
“Ini-endorse ng Chinese embassy dahil yung initial negotiation is form the kidnappers to the family in China. We have no way of knowing it, if not through the Chinese embassy. Yung family sa China, nagse-seek ng tulong dito sa Chinese embassy,” Dumlao said.
The PNP-AKG said illegitimate casino financiers abound in casinos offering money to players.
Once the victim is unable to pay the debt, the victim is kidnapped and ransom is demanded from the family.
“Marami na kasi yung freelance o illegitimate na casino financiers na hindi na nako-kontrol ng mga casino, kase nga sa casino may mga in-house financing sila which are legit. Mahirap ding ma-monitor dahil may mga illegitimate financiers na actually big-time rollers din sa loob. Akala nila naglalaro roon so yung inflow ng pera legal na legal. Yung pautang hindi na dumadaan actually doon sa legit system ng casino,” Dumlao explained.
“Akala mo kasi player din sila. Akala mo ako ang runner ng financier, tinatabihan ko ang nangungutang akala nila runner din ang nakaupo. Withdraw ka pa ng chips, utang na yon,” he added.
Loan shark syndicates have allegedly engaged themselves in a turf war with other groups.
A photo grabbed from a CCTV in Pasay City taken last April showed alleged loanshark syndicates engaging in a brawl. Authorities recovered the knives used in the riot.
Dumlao said there is a rise in the number of loan shark victims. The PNP-AKG rescued 8 victims this year alone.
“Merong taking of persons against their will and demands payment. We have no recourse but to act on this matter,” he said.
Dumlao said they have a hard time filing cases because the Chinese victims go back to their country immediately.
“Sabi nga ng DOJ Task Force Anti Kidnapping, they cannot sustain yung sa kaso because after some time, ayaw na nilang mag-appear, yung complainant mismo, so eventually, nadi-dismiss," he said.
"Umuuwi ng China, wala kaming paraan para i-hold in which yung Chinese embassy dapat ang magsabi sa kanila na bumalik."
The PNP-AKG said loan sharks need to legitimize their operations in order to formally collect debts and avoid losing money.
“I-legitimize nila ang paraan ng paniningil. I-legitimate mo din ang status mo as casino financier. They are operating underground, lugi negosyo nila,” Dumlao said.