Duterte: I was ashamed of Jee Ick-joo killing
President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he felt ashamed when the 2016 murder of a South Korean businessman inside Camp Crame was raised during his visit to Seoul earlier this month.
In a speech in Panglao, Bohol, on Thursday, the President said it was this mortifying episode that prompted him to ban immigration personnel from accosting foreign tourists.
“When I visited Korea, I was so ashamed,” Mr. Duterte said.
“‘Why is it that our citizens, whom you are trying to invite to visit you, are being killed in military camps?’” Mr. Duterte recalled one of his Korean hosts tell him.
“I was unable to answer them, to be honest. It was insulting,” Mr. Duterte said.
The President was referring to the murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, who was abducted and later killed allegedly by policemen inside Camp Crame, the Philippine National Police headquarters in Quezon City.
In October 2016, Jee was abducted from his house in Angeles City, Pampanga province, in an operation disguised as the antidrug drive “Oplan Tokhang.”
The suspects took his car and some pieces of jewelry and even demanded P8 million from Jee’s wife, Choi Kyung-jin, in exchange for her husband’s freedom.
Choi managed to cough up P5 million but eventually sought help from the authorities when the suspects were unable to present proof that her husband was still alive.
Three months later, Jee was discovered dead and his remains allegedly cremated in a funeral parlor in Caloocan City.
The case prompted the President to strip the PNP of authority to lead the antidrug war and to dissolve all antinarcotics units in the PNP.
Earlier this month, he visited Seoul and discussed the protection of Filipinos and South Koreans in a closed-door meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
This embarrassing incident was what prompted the President to order Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente to ban immigration officers from accosting foreign tourists.
He added that his ban against accosting foreign tourists extended to the police and military and not only immigration officers.
“Police, Army, everyone, no one. Don’t mess with the tourists, not even give them a glance. I am really pissed with this incident,” the President said.
He told immigration officers not to test his patience and not to even think of extorting money from foreigners, especially Chinese and South Korean tourists.
“I’m warning the immigration guys here. If they’re not here, the police should tell them,” the President said.
“You tell the immigration officers to keep their hands off the tourists, either Chinese or Koreans,” Mr. Duterte said.
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