Kidnapping, extortion causing panic among Chinese traders in Binondo | Inquirer News

Kidnapping, extortion causing panic among Chinese traders in Binondo

/ 01:55 AM November 09, 2016

Kidnapping incidents in Binondo, Manila, have created panic among Chinese businessmen in the area, forcing them to open their stores late and close early.

Teresita Ang-See, founder of Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO), said on Tuesday that they have verified at least six cases of kidnapping and four cases of “hulidap” or extortion.

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Armed abductors, she added, threatened to file drug cases against their victims should they refuse to give them money. “Out of fear that they would be summary killed or be included in the drug watch list, they paid off the kidnappers,” Ang-See said.

She also claimed that while in the custody of their captors, the victims were forced to hold sachets of what appeared to be “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) to ensure that their fingerprints would be on what could be used as “evidence” against them.

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Ang-See, however, said that they have yet to establish the people behind the abductions, adding that they were looking at two possibilities. These were either drug traders shifting to kidnapping or unscrupulous law enforcers taking advantage of the government’s war on drugs.

She warned that the number of victims was expected to rise unless the government could put a stop to the incidents. The latest victim was abducted days before Nov. 1, she said.

“These cases will escalate very fast because the victims pay big amounts of money in a short amount of time,” Ang-See said in a phone interview. According to her, the kidnappers have been able to rake in “several millions” in ransom money.

Ang-See said they had received reports that some policemen were behind all four extortion cases, using search warrants to gain entry into the offices of the victims.

Three kidnapping cases were also allegedly perpetrated by policemen while the other three were carried out by men claiming to be from the National Bureau of Investigation.

The first case was reported in March followed by a lull until another incident happened in June. Ang-See said she was “thankful” that President Duterte mentioned the abductions in a recent speech as it led to an investigation into the problem.

Ang-See also encouraged all the victims to come forward in order to identify the perpetrators.

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So far, she said, the common denominator was the area where the abductions took place: A neighborhood in Binondo.

All victims were Chinese nationals who reported their ordeal not to the police but to the Chinese Embassy, she said. They were abducted early in the morning and released the same day after paying millions of pesos in ransom.

In response, Manila Police District director, Senior Supt. Joel Coronel, said he would deploy 20 more policemen to Binondo “to preempt any possible cases of kidnappings.” —WITH A REPORT FROM KRISTINE FELISSE MANGUNAY

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TAGS: “shabu”, Binondo, Chinese traders, extortion, Hulidap, Kidnapping, Manila Police District director, Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order, MRPO, Planted Evidence, Senior Supt. Joel Coronel, Teresita Ang-See
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