Cops set up office near casinos amid rising cases of kidnapping
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) has put up satellite offices near casinos nationwide in the wake of increasing incidents of abduction.
PNP-AKG spokesman Lt. Col. Elmer Cereno also disclosed Tuesday that police intelligence operatives have likewise been deployed inside gambling establishments.
Asked about growing concerns on casino-related kidnapping cases, Cereno said: “Meron na ho tayong ginagawang aksyon. Nagkaroon na ho ng advance satellite office dito sa malapit sa casino establishments na ito. Nag-deploy na rin tayong mga operatiba natin mga intelligence inside the casino.”
According to Cereno, PNP-AKG officers have been working with casino supervisors and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to address the issue.
“We have already coordinated with the casino supervisors then [with] Pagcor regarding sa POGOs [Philippine offshore gaming operators,]” he further said in an ambush interview in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
PNP-AKG said kidnapping incidents stem from gangs who target casinos and offer loans to gamblers at usurious rates. When gamblers fail to pay their debts, they are abducted by the gangs and forced to cough up payment.
Additionally, it explained that the increase in abduction cases may be attributed to the surge of gambling operations – offline and online – in the Philippines.
From 2017 to 2019, PNP-AKG recorded 53 casino-related kidnapping incidents as 120 Chinese nationals have been arrested in relation to kidnappings in casinos.
Over 56 licensed online casinos employ about 250,000 Chinese workers and at least 30 online casinos are operating illegally, according to PNP-AKG. /kga
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