4 Malaysians rescued from Chinese kidnappers
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Four Malaysians allegedly kidnapped by seven Chinese workers of a Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) company were rescued in San Pedro, Laguna on Saturday.

Jonathan Zhi Haw, 26; Tan Hang Yi, 25; Kho Soon Chiang, 23, and Cheam Chun Keat, 19, were rescued by members of the Philippine-National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group from a house in Barangay Chrysanthemum at around 4 p.m., according to PNP-AKG chief Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo.

Reports said the victims arrived in the country on Feb. 14 and were brought to the house, where the suspects ran a POGO enterprise.

The suspects – identified as Chao Min Weng, Haihua Liang, Jian Yang, Jin Tang, Xiaoxing Gan, Xinjian Tang and Zhoujing Yu – took the victims’ passports.

The suspects reportedy forced the victims to work and beat them.

Estomo said the suspects contacted the victims’ relatives and ask for ransom in exchange for their release.

The relatives wired money, but the suspects did not release the captives.

The relatives were compelled to seek help from their government, which contacted the Philippine authorities.

Police initially took custody of 16 Chinese and a Filipino security guard.

Ten, including the guard, were released after the victims identified their captors. 

The suspects were brought to the AKG’s office at Camp Crame for investigation.

Shut down

Meanwhile, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers urged the government to shut down POGOs found to be delinquent in paying taxes and other dues to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., respectively.

Barbers, chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs, issued the call after a BIR official testified during a Senate hearing that POGO delinquencies have reached P50 billion. 

“The government allowed POGOs to operate here because of the projected revenues they would provide and help our economy. But if the government would be shortchanged on this, then it is time to shut down their operations and send them home,” Barbers said. – With Delon Porcalla

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