MANILA, Philippines -- A tourist was victimized by suspected members of a criminal syndicate who allegedly stole an estimated P300,000 from him in Manila.
Choi Wook Lim, 42, identified as a South Korean and staying at a hotel on Tomas Morato Street, Quezon City, lodged on Thursday a complaint before the Manila Police District (MPD) Meisic police station 11 against a man, who posed as a Thai tourist, and his two female accomplices.
Police suspect that the three are members of the ?Ativan? gang whose modus operandi involves drugging their victim with a sedative called ?Ativan? before stealing his or her belongings.
Lim claimed that the suspects took his bag containing a digital camera, a watch, an electronic dictionary, a laptop computer, a diamond ring, a pair of shades, a gold necklace, all worth US$7,095, and P5,000 cash.
Lim told police investigators, through an interpreter, that the incident happened between 11 a.m. and 12 noon last Sunday, somewhere in Binondo, Manila, adding that he can recognize the suspects if he sees them again.
Lim said that before the incident, he met the ?Thai tourist,? who befriended him around 9 a.m. Sunday at the Luneta Park.
The complainant observed that the man was Filipino-looking but introduced himself as a tourist from Thailand. The man then asked Lim to go with him to Chinatown in Binondo where they entered a bar and had drinks. After consuming the beers, he reportedly felt dizzy and saw two women waiting for them outside the bar.
The group proceeded to another bar where they had another round of drinks until he fell asleep.
Lim said that when he woke up, he was aboard a taxi parked in front of the Manila International Languages School along Tomas Morato in Quezon City, and noticed instantly that his valuables were gone.
Police believed that one of the drinks offered to Lim was laced with Ativan.
MPD Station 11 operatives have launched a hunt for the suspects and were conducting follow-up operations for the recovery of the stolen items.
($1.00=P46.930, as of Jan. 28, 2008)