PNP targets 2nd loan shark gang in casinos
After rounding up 43 Chinese and Malaysian members of a loan sharking syndicate, the Philippine National Police is out to neutralize a similar group with Filipino members.
At a press conference in Camp Crame on Thursday, the PNP chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, said another loan sharking syndicate operating in Metro Manila’s casinos had been identified.
The second group that has yet to be neutralized is headed by a Chinese national and has compatriots and some Singaporeans of Chinese descent as members, according to Dela Rosa.
Senior Supt. Glenn Dumlao, head of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), said the
second group was the subject of follow-up operations.
The PNP said the 43 foreigners were arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a Singaporean woman at a casino in Manila.
Chen Deqin, Chinese leader of the dismantled loan sharking syndicate, remains at large and is the subject of a hunt.
Dela Rosa said the group that had been operating since 2015 previously abducted two victims.
He pointed out that arrests were made after the Singaporean victim’s family promptly coordinated with the PNP.
Loan sharking syndicates usually profile foreign victims by pretending to be casino players.
“If they see a player losing, they will befriend the player and offer loans. The deeper in debt a player is, the better it is for them,” Dumlao said.
Once the player owes them lots of money, the syndicate takes 10 percent out of the total winnings and another 10 percent from each bet won.
“If the player continues losing, members of the syndicate will tell him or her that they need to transfer to a different casino, which may be much luckier. Once they get the player in a vehicle, the kidnapping happens,” Dumlao said.
The loan sharking group then brings the victim to a hotel room where he or she may be tortured before being ransomed off.
The group receives ransom money through wire transfer to China, then to Macau, and then back to the Philippines, apparently to avoid leaving a trail.
In the case of the neutralized loan sharking syndicate, the Singaporean woman was playing baccarat on July 17 at Solaire Resorts and Casino in Pasay City when two Malaysian nationals befriended her.
They then asked her to come along with them to City of Dreams but took her instead to a room at Bayview International Condominium on Roxas Boulevard.
The suspects then asked her family to pay $180,000 for her release.
The victim’s family immediately sought the help of the PNP-AKG, which closely coordinated with the Bureau of Immigration for the July 18 rescue of the Singaporean and the roundup of 41 Chinese and two Malaysians, who were billeted at Bayview.
The 43 suspects have been charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention in the Department of Justice.
Solaire, which is owned by Bloomberry Resorts Corp., said on Thursday it was not tolerating loan sharks.
“Solaire continues to closely safeguard all its patrons to ensure their safety from unscrupulous personalities and activities even as it continues to coordinate and support government authorities in the fight against criminal activities,” Solaire said in a statement.
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