‘PLA’ IDs add to Chinese slay mystery
MANILA, Philippines — The killing of a Chinese worker for an online gaming company in Makati City was shrouded in mystery on Saturday after the police said they found Chinese military identification cards in the possession of the two suspects, both compatriots of the victim.
The case investigator, Staff Sgt. Evelyn Quirante, said Yang Chao Wen and Liang Yuan Wu were facing murder charges in the death of Yin Jian Tao, who was shot inside a VIP room of Jiang Nan Hot Pot restaurant in barangay Bel-Air on Thursday night.
The Makati police said two ID cards belonging to the same person and three pistols — one 9mm and two .45-caliber — were found among the belongings of the suspects.
The discovery of the Chinese military IDs at the crime scene came just hours after Sen. Richard Gordon warned, in a meeting with the Inquirer, that the more than $160 million brought into the country by Chinese visitors in December-February may not only be laundered here but also fund a “fifth column,” a term to refer to a group of people working secretly for the enemy.
‘Cause for concern’
On Saturday, the senator said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China IDs should be investigated, noting that some of the Chinese workers in the country were in the age range of army recruits.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former national police chief, said the presence of PLA members in the country “should be a cause for concern.”
“That may confirm a yet unvalidated report that a good number of PLA members are on immersion mission in several parts of the country although the reason for it is still unclear,” he said.
“The police as well as the intelligence community should lose no time in exerting serious efforts to authenticate the discovered PLA ID using sources independent of the Chinese government for obvious reasons,” Lacson said.
“The same source mentioned the entry of large sums of Chinese laundered money entering the country is connected to the PLA presence here,” he added.
An Inquirer informant who read the Chinese text in both IDs said they belonged to a certain Liu Sheng Zhen of the PLA. According to one of the IDs, he was assigned as a “kitchen worker,” the informant said.
The authenticity of the IDs could not immediately be established.
Yang and Liang, who told police they arrived in Manila in January to work for a Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo), said that person was their coworker but gave no explanation for why they had his PLA IDs with them and why they carried no company identification themselves.
Third suspect escaped
Yin, 33, was killed outright and his companion, Zheng Kai, 25, was wounded but in stable condition at Makati Medical Center, according to Police Maj. Gideon Ines, chief of the Makati Police investigation unit.
Ines said Yin’s wife told investigators that her husband only met Yang, Liang and a third suspect, who had escaped, for the first time at the restaurant where they had agreed to meet to exchange Philippine pesos for Chinese yuans.
Ines could not immediately say whether the PLA member was the third suspect.
Yin’s wife said her husband, also a worker for another Pogo company, and the suspects had set the meeting through the Chinese online messaging platform WeChat.
Yin had with him more than P300,000 which was supposed to have been exchanged for Yang’s yuans.
“From the suspects’ testimonies, it appears they really planned on killing the victims because they really didn’t have the money,” Quirante told the Inquirer on Friday.
She said Yang had informed Yin that he wanted local currency to be able to buy a plane ticket to fly back to China. Yang also said his tourist visa had expired 20 days earlier, according to Quirante.
A restaurant CCTV footage showed Yin’s wife chasing after the suspects following the shooting. One of the pistols dropped on the floor as they fled and it was picked up by a restaurant staff, who placed it on top of a beer case as he ran after the group.
Another footage showed Yin’s wife, her dress drenched apparently in her husband’s blood, watching as crime scene investigators were inspecting the room where the victim was shot until his body was carried out in a body bag.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.