8 arrested for alleged kidnapping, gun-running activities – CIDG | Inquirer News

8 arrested for alleged kidnapping, gun-running activities – CIDG

/ 08:01 PM October 04, 2022
Authorities arrested eight suspects for allegedly kidnapping foreign nationals and selling illegal firearms, said the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP CIDG).

Facade of the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame. Image from pnp.gov.ph website

MANILA, Philippines — Authorities arrested eight suspects for allegedly kidnapping foreign nationals and selling illegal firearms, said the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP CIDG).

CIDG chief Police Brigadier General Ronald Lee said the arrested suspects belonged to what authorities dubbed as the Warla Kidnapping Group, which was formed in 2018 and is “composed of particularly transwomen and their partners.”

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“They have gained notoriety for posing as beautiful women before kidnapping their targets, primarily Asian foreigners, as soon as they agree to meet them for a day. All are believed to be engaged not only in kidnapping for ransom but also in gun-running activities,” Lee detailed.

The group has victimized at least 14 foreign nationals and collected a total ransom of P4.2 million, according to the CIDG.

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It noted that some of their victims were foreign businessmen and workers of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators.

The CIDG then said that the group was purportedly committing such crimes to acquire the money that will finance its members’ sex reassignment surgeries.

Eight suspects nabbed, six still at-large

The CIDG pointed out that the arrest of the eight suspects stemmed from the rescue of the group’s latest victim, 58-year-old Taiwanese businessman Michael Lee, who was kidnapped in Parañaque City on September 3.

It said that the group had demanded ransom from Lee’s friends, and a total of P308,000 was later sent to five different mobile wallet accounts.

Police were able to track the people behind the online transaction, which led to suspects Dewie Garcia, Charlemagne Vargas, and Christian Paredes surrendering to authorities.

The suspects claimed that a certain Mike “Mikey” Ebol, who, according to them, led the group that mainly operated in the cities of Parañaque, Pasay, Taguig, and Makati, purchased the SIM cards used to receive the ransom.

Meanwhile, five other suspects, namely Jun Villa, Lawrenz Lingo, Jhonas Belonio, Bernard Torres, and Mark Pelonio were likewise collared in a string of police operations, the CIDG added.

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For his part, CIDG-National Capital Region chief Police Colonel Hansel Marantan said six suspects, identified as Lexi Villanueva, Jaine Martinez, Hector “Yanyan” Magallanes, Erwin “Marga” Flores, and Matthew San Diego, remain at large. However, the police are still carrying out manhunt operations to capture them.

Formal complaints for kidnapping and illegal possession of firearms have already been lodged against the suspects before the Department of Justice.  With reports from Kristelle Anne Razon, INQUIRER.net trainee

RELATED STORIES:

Cops rescue Taiwanese from kidnappers in Makati City 

43 foreigners rescued from POGO worksite in Angeles City 

JPV/abc
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TAGS: CIDG, Crime, gun-running, Kidnapping, PNP‎, rescue
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