Cop says ‘Korean mafia’ killed Jee
A “Korean mafia” is behind the murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, according to a police officer who served in the disbanded Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG).
“The intention was to murder him, then burn him, eliminate him with no trace. The ransom demand was just an afterthought. Already paid by the mafia for the job, they still demanded ransom,” the officer said in an interview with the Inquirer.
“They have been doing it for a long time. Now all of us have been affected,” he said.
The officer was assigned to the PNP Intelligence Group (PNP-IG) before he was moved to the AIDG.
He said four of the narcs returned to the PNP-IG after the AIDG was disbanded on Monday.
Kidnappers from AIDG
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the AIDG disbanded after its officers were found involved in the kidnapping and murder of Jee on Oct. 18 last year.
Jee was taken from his home in Angeles City, Pampanga province, transported to PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and was killed there.
The killers then made Jee’s wife, Choi Kyung-jin, believe he had been kidnapped, and demanded P5 million in ransom.
Choi paid the ransom but when her husband did not come home, she asked for help from the government.
An investigation led to the discovery of the murder involving AIDG officers.
The former AIDG officer said the group was preparing to raid a big meth laboratory when the scandal broke out.
“We believe that is the ultimate intention in killing Jee in Camp Crame. They wanted the AIDG dissolved and make the drug lords happy again,” the officer said, referring to the Korean mafia.
The PNP chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, told reporters on Friday that he had heard about the Korean mafia, which is reportedly operating in Central Luzon, and that PNP and National Bureau of Investigation probers were looking into reports about the existence of the group.
Retired Police Director Rodolfo “Boogie” Mendoza said the probe should be done by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) because the attack on Jee was not a kidnapping for ransom case.
“When Supt. Rafael Dumlao (the head of the AIDG) implicated some officers and agents of [the NBI], I thought they got it,” Mendoza told the Inquirer on Friday.
Killings of Koreans
“If they are patient, they would learn the real motive for the killing of Jee. The real story is the intention to kill Jee. It was not about ransom,” he said.
“That big group mentioned by Dumlao, that’s true,” he added.
Mendoza said the killings of Koreans in the Philippines on orders of the Korean mafia had been going on since 2005 or 2006.
“But even earlier, there were already records of Koreans killed here,” he said.
Mendoza said the Korean mafia operated with help from rogue PNP officers, corrupt NBI and Bureau of Immigration agents.
He said an exhaustive investigation of the involvement of the NBI officials implicated by Dumlao was necessary because “the root is there.”
“They have the connection [to the Korean mafia] then they pass the job to their contacts in the PNP,” he said.
50 Koreans missing
Making it more clear, he said the Korean mafia would identify the target, then rogue members of Philippine law enforcement agencies would carry out the “project.”
The project is almost always killing the target, and the rogue officers were paid to kill, not to kidnap, the target, he said.
“Whoever is the target, the sharing is always 60-40. The bigger share goes to the law enforcers operating with the syndicate. It’s they who do the job,” Mendoza said.
Jee was not the first victim, Mendoza said, adding that at least 50 Koreans are missing in the Philippines and all are believed dead—killed without a trace.
In Jee’s case, the killers had his body cremated and the ashes flushed down a toilet.
“Nobody brought a complaint. The Koreans here were afraid because they knew who were behind the disappearances,” Mendoza said.
“Jee’s case is different because his wife brought a complaint,” he added.
Mendoza said Jee was most likely a person of interest to the Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking, a unit of the NBI where Dumlao’s wife, a lawyer, was an officer.
Mendoza said Dumlao’s claim that SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel of the AIDG was the brains behind the murder of Jee was “hard to believe.”
“Jee was taken to Camp Crame to be shown to Dumlao. It’s he who has initial knowledge of it and he needed Sta. Isabel because Sta. Isabel was used to the job. But to know why Jee became a target, investigators should press Dumlao,” he said.
According to Mendoza, Jee was a former vice president for human resources of Hanjin Shipping Co. in the Philippines.
Jee left Hanjin to set up his own business.
“The illegal workers at the Fontana casino of Jack Lam were not all Chinese. Some of them were Koreans, and Jee dealt with Lam,” Mendoza said.
“Everyone at Fontana knows the connection between Jee and Lam. That is also the reason why Jee was on the radar of the NBI [human trafficking unit] and through Dumlao’s wife, who is an agent in that unit, they know all the holdings about Jee and that includes information about his business rivals and who would want him killed through the Korean mafia,” he said.
Mendoza said the AIDG and President Duterte’s war on drugs were collateral damage in the operation of the Korean mafia with rogue groups from the PNP, NBI and immigration bureau.
“Whether that is also intentional is worth looking into,” he said.
“The AIDG had big targets and many would get away if such a dedicated group would be dissolved,” he added.
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