Eight Chinese nationals and one Filipino have been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for allegedly kidnapping a Chinese casino player in Parañaque City. The suspects were presented at a presser in the NBI office in Manila today.
The Chinese nationals were identified as Ben Tan, Haitao Wang, Dechun Qin, Yong Fei Chan, Xiao Qiang Yang, Dong Zheng Wen, Beijun Lin, and Jun Wang. The Filipino suspect was identified as Jomar Demadante, whom the NBI alleged was responsible for guarding the Chinese casino player and seven other victims when they were brought to a safe house in Las Piñas City, reported Radyo Inquirer.
The suspects are loan sharks who would allegedly abduct casino players if they fail to pay back the money that was lent to them, according to the NBI. The group would allegedly loan money to players with interest rates that could go as high as three times the amount given, reported ABS-CBN News.
The nine suspects were arrested on July 11 after the NBI received a complaint from the wife of the Chinese casino player, reported Bombo Radyo. Her husband was kidnapped from the Okada Manila resort-casino in Parañaque City after he failed to pay back the money he owed the suspects.
The loan sharks allegedly asked for a PHP2 million (US$39,298) ransom in exchange for the man’s freedom. The victim’s family from China sent the kidnappers PHP500,000 (US$9,824) but the group allegedly refused to free him unless the entire ransom was paid.
When the victim called his wife to ask for more money on behalf of the kidnappers, he managed to send her details about his location through GPS, which helped the NBI find the suspects’ safehouse. Three of the suspects boarded a vehicle and tried to escape from the NBI but they were arrested after a brief car chase.
The NBI seized a pistol and a revolver from the suspects during their arrest, reported GMA News.
The suspects have been charged with kidnapping, serious illegal detention, and violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act at the Las Piñas City prosecutor’s office.
This is just the latest case of a casino player being abducted by loan sharks. In December, two Taiwanese players were rescued in Las Piñas City after they were abducted for failing to pay their debts. It was also last year in August when a Chinese national was allegedly kidnapped and tortured by his compatriots for failing to pay his loan.