Couple behind ‘crush’ videos nabbed
A week after an animal rights group offered a P100,000 reward for any information leading to their arrest, a couple believed to be involved in the production and sale of gruesome “fetish” videos showing small animals being tortured to death by scantily clad girls were arrested by the police in Burgos town, La Union.
Senior Insp. Martin Ngadao, Burgos police chief, told the Inquirer Thursday that Victor and Dorma “Chita” Ridon, a Filipino couple from nearby Bacnotan town, did not resist when policemen armed with warrants for their arrest went to their house in Barangay Libtong.
Ngadao said the Ridons were turned over to the San Fernando Regional Trial Court where they were set free after they posted bail of P104,000 each.
Rochelle Regodon, Asia-Pacific campaigns manager of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), lauded the couple’s arrest.
“The National Bureau of Investigation [NBI], which has been conducting [an] investigation [of] this case, confirmed … the couple’s arrest. We believe they surrendered because of pressure, knowing that they were being hunted [after] charges were filed against them,” Regodon told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
“Peta’s hotline received more than 200 reports in the week following our appeal for help. And according to some of our informants who know the suspects, we can say they felt the heat [due to] media coverage [of] the case,” she said.
“This is a warning to everyone who would commit cruelty to animal crimes: The public takes it seriously and will do all it can to see justice served,” Regodon added.
The Ridons face charges of violating antichild abuse (Republic Act 7610) and animal welfare (RA 8485) laws, RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and RA 9147 or the Wildlife Protection and Conservation Act.
Peta, with the help of the NBI, conducted a yearlong investigation to determine who were behind the production and sale of the crush videos after the group received a tip from a concerned citizen in Russia.
The videos, which were sold online as “erotica,” showed small animals that were tortured to death.
Some of these featured rabbits whose ears were cut off before they were burnt alive or stepped on until their organs leaked out. Several others showed dogs that were either repeatedly hit in the eye with a stiletto heel, had their legs hacked off or burnt with a clothes iron.
Peta later learned that the couple had hired girls between the ages of 12 and 18 to torture and kill the animals for P100 to P1,000 per video.
Peta said that at first, the girls in the videos were hired by the couple to look after their children. Later on, they were asked to dance in their underwear in front of a camera and then ordered to kill small animals.
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