MANILA (UPDATE) - Seven suspects were arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) recently for allegedly kidnapping 3 Chinese citizens, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday.
The suspects were identified as Chinese nationals Chen Xin, Liu Chen, Yang Shuwen, Wei Ching, Zhang Lee and Qi Long, and Yu Jhong Ruei from Taiwan.
Police Lt. Col. Elmer Cereno, PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) spokesperson, said the suspects seized victims Xu Jinming, Xu Huanbo and Ou Kailang after they tried to leave the country after working as offshore gaming employees.
The victims reportedly worked at a POGO (Philippine offshore gaming operators) hub in Las Piñas City before trying to leave because of salary issues. They said they were promised at least 10,000 Chinese yuan or P73,000 monthly salaries but received only 6,000 yuan or P44,000 monthly wages.
The victims reportedly asked for help from four of the suspects who allegedly presented themselves as fixers to help them process their travel documents to leave the Philippines.
"After 3 days, tumawag na itong isa (sa mga biktima) sa mga suspects para mag-meet at pickup ang travel documents sa (NAIA) Terminal 3," said Police Lt. Col. Jowel Saliba of the PNP-AKG.
(After 3 days, one of the victims called the suspects to meet and pickup their travel documents at NAIA Terminal 3.)
Saliba said a white van arrived on the day of the meeting and before they knew it, the victims were taken by force.
"Noong time na nag-aabutan na, forcibly isinasakay sila sa van. Naalarma ang mga tao doon. Ang Aviation Security Group (sa NAIA), doon sila rumesponde," Saliba said.
(When they met, the victims were forcibly taken inside the van, which got the people alarmed. The Aviation Security Group responded then.)
"Supposedly tutulungan silang makaalis at mabigyan ng travel documents pero at the end sila pa ang kukuha," he added.
(The suspects supposedly were going to help the victims but in the end, they were going to grab the victims.)
Cereno said they are investigating if the POGO company the victims worked for was involved in the kidnapping.
The suspects were charged with kidnapping for ransom with serious illegal detention.
Meanwhile, the AKG has mounted posters written in English and Mandarin in public places to warn people about how Chinese casino loan shark syndicates operate.
Some 477 posters were placed in casinos, airports, police stations, Bureau of Immigration offices and hotels in the cities of Pasay, Parañaque and Manila, and Cavite province.