P4-million debt behind abduction in Cebu CityBy Chito O. Aragon
Cebu Daily News
A Korean national and three Filipino suspects were arrested for the kidnapping of another Korean and his girlfriend in Cebu City in relation to an unpaid P4 million debt.
Police arrested 33-year-old Song Sunghen when he arrived at the airport from Korea Thursday night following the rescue of the kidnap victims, who were earlier taken from their apartment in La Guardia Street, barangay Lahug.
Police said Jun Hyung Chung and Charice Santiago were driven around several southern Cebu towns. Their car was later parked outside Ayala Center where the abductors tried to withdraw P200,000 of the P600,000 money demanded from the Korean victim’s ATM account on Wednesday night.
PNP chief Nicanor Bartolome, who was in Cebu for a speaking engagement, briefed reporters yesterday about the arrrest.
He said the local cohorts pretended to be operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-7) when they forced the victims into a car outside their apartment and handcuffed them.
Bartolome said the Korean victim has an unofficial business in a casino.
Kidnapping for ransom charges will be filed against Sunghen and three other suspects – Gregorio Dealagdon of Aloguinsan town; his cousin Richard Nemenzo Dealagdon of barangay Labangon, Cebu City and Leonard Bolalon, a native of La Libertad, Negros Occidental province.
The two Cebuano cousins denied kidnapping the couple and said they only “invited them” to go with them on instructions of Sunghen, who was trying to collect a P4 million unpaid debt.
“Wa namo gi kidnap, amo ra na sila gi-invite tungod sa ilang utang”, Richard said. (We didn’t kidnap them. We just invited them to come with us because of their unpaid debt).
He said if it were a real kidnapping, they wouldn’t have let Chung use his cellphone to call his mother in Korea.
Richard said they drove the couple through several west coast towns while waiting for the arrival of Sunghen in Cebu. He said the money taken from the couple was “initial payment” to their boss.
He denied handcuffing the Korean captive and his girlfriend.
Richard is a member of the Robbery and Thievery Action Force previously affiliated with the Theft and Robbery Section of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
The three arrested Filipinos were separately detained at Cebu City police stockade. They pointed to Sungyen as the mastermind, who was arrested at Mactan airport upon arrival from Korea near midnight Thursday.
A fourth suspect, Wilfredo Naval, escaped. Naval was supposted to fetch Sunghen at airport but disappeared when he noticed that one of the three arrested Filipinos was escorted by the police.
Sunghen, detained at the holding cell of the tourist police, refused to issue any comment. He shouted angrily when news reporters tried to interview him and take photos.
Bartolome, the PNP chief, said all elements of kidnapping for ransom were present regardless of the reasons given for abducting the couple.
He said the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Task Force in Central Visayas received the report about a kidnapping in Lahug and alerted Criminal Investigation Bureau chief Romeo Santander who launched an operation.
The abductors demanded P600,000 payment and were withdrawing P195,000 cash in the ATM when they were arrested by CIB police agents.
Chung and his Filipina live-in partner were forcibly taken past 11 a.m. on Wednesday. They were handcuffed and made to ride a Toyota Vios sedan with plate number YGW-572, according to police.
The couple were driven westward to towns of Balamban, Toledo, Pinamungahan, Aloguinsan and then back south to Carcar and Cebu City.
Police will look deeper into Sunghen’s background to see if he is involved in other cases, said Senior Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, Cebu city police chief.