MANILA - Police have arrested members of a casino loan shark syndicate that prey on foreign casino high-rollers by offering them loans and detaining them in a safe house if they are unable to pay.
Director Glenn Dumlao of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group said the Korean Embassy first gave them information about the kidnapping when a Korean was reported missing while playing in a casino hotel in Malate, Manila.
Authorities found the kidnapped Korean national Yeum Sunki in a safehouse in Felville Subdivision, Sta Cruz, Guiguinto, Bulacan.
Dumlao said they were surprised when they saw 2 more detainees inside the compound. They were identified as Korean Park Panho and a Chinese woman.
Both were detained for 30 days when they could not pay off their debt.
The victims were kidnapped on different dates and were brought to the safe house maintained by one of the arrested suspects, identified as Ernesto Agsulid Marella.
The other suspects were identified as Alexander Dionisio, Jomar Dela Peña, Raymond De Guzman, Ferdie Dionisio and Florida Dionisio.
According to Dumlao, the group's modus operandi is to hang out in the casino and look for players who are losing.
They will approach the losing players and offer to lend them money and eventually detain them when they are unable to pay.
Marella said their victims agreed to be detained and even signed a contract agreeing to the detention until they are able to pay their debts.
The suspects will be charged with kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention.