Makati City police today identified two persons of interest in connection with the kidnapping of 28-year-old Chinese national Zhou Mei, an employee of a Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO).
Police have said that Chen Tangbin, Zhou’s husband, and a certain Zhu Jianwei are currently being investigated by the authorities in connection to the kidnapping, which saw the woman dragged into a van on Monday night as she cried for help.
The police focused on the two men because photocopies of their passports were found in the scene of the crime, along with other documents that mentioned their names. Chen, also a POGO worker, has already given a statement to the police yesterday, which the authorities said contained certain “inconsistencies,” GMA News reports.
“We heard a lot of lies from the husband,” Makati’s head of investigation, Maj. Gideon Ines, said. “There were inconsistencies with what he said transpired, that’s why he became a person of interest. This includes his friend [Zhu] who could have been inside that van.”
“We also wonder why he only went to the police yesterday despite the fact that he had so many hours to come to us,” Ines added.
The police said Chen told them he had no idea who his wife’s possible abductors could be. They also said that they are examining the couple’s relationship to determine a possible motive behind Zhou’s abduction.
Zhu became involved in the case because his name appeared in the documents that were recovered from the scene of the crime, which showed that he purchased a vehicle from the victim’s husband, Rappler reports. The police also found a copy of his driver’s license, which they alleged was fake, according to ABS-CBN News. His address, which was written in one of the documents, was also allegedly fake.
However, the Makati police clarified that the two men are not considered suspects yet.
POGOs, which offer gaming services to a mostly Chinese clientele, have proven controversial in recent years. On Sunday, Makati Mayor Abby Binay said that her government would indefinitely stop issuing business permits to POGOs, blaming their employees for Makati’s overheated real estate market and an increase in criminal incidents. However, the Makati police say that most of the crimes involving POGO employees were thefts, and not kidnappings.