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MRPO warns of rise in kidnapping, extortion activities

MANILA, Philippines – An anti-crime watchdog has sounded the alarm over kidnap for ransom and extortion activities in Metro Manila. 
There were 11 incidents of kidnapping for ransom so far this year, three of which took place in Binondo, according to Ka Kuen Chua, chairman of the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order.

In Binondo, all the victims were Chinese nationals who immediately paid huge ransoms, some after only less than eight hours of detention. The MRPO laments that though overall, the number of kidnap-for-ransom incidents has gone down, kidnapping of Chinese nationals have increased because the victims refuse to report and cooperate with authorities. In addition, the ransom amounts paid are much higher than in previous cases.

“Once the kidnappers get away with easy money, it encourages them to perpetrate more crimes,” Chua said.

In all of the cases, there were possibly fellow Chinese nationals involved and most possibly in connivance with law enforcers.

All incidents happened in Manila, three were in Binondo. Some of the cases involve actual abductions. Victims were detained in undisclosed place while ransom negotiations with family members were conducted.

In some of the cases, Manila policemen and/or agents of the National Bureau of Investigation serve search warrants and bring the victims with them allegedly for questioning.

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The law enforcers accused victims that the goods they are selling are fake or smuggled. But instead of the police station, they bring the victims elsewhere and negotiate with their families to ransom them back. Victims are released only after huge pay-offs.

Meanwhile, increased incidents of extortion by Manila policemen and NBI agents have also been reported. The modus operandi is for the law enforcers to bring the search warrants to store fronts, threaten the owners that they will be arrested unless demands for pay-offs are met.  

A Malabon judge who has been issuing search warrants indiscriminately to these law enforcers is now suspended. Other judges are now under investigation too for the inordinate number of search warrants issued. MRPO warns the community to be vigilant.  Criminals may switch to other activities now that the heat is on against those involved in drugs.

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