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Opinion

EDITORIAL- Making crime pay

The Philippine Star

The kidnappers reportedly want the ransom paid in Philippine currency, so they must be Filipinos. Malaysian authorities said the kidnappers have demanded 36.4 million ringgit but wanted it paid in its Philippine equivalent of P500 million for Chinese tourist Gao Hua Yan, who was seized by gunmen from the Singamata Reef Resort in Sabah on Friday last week.

There has been no ransom demand so far for the other captive, Filipina resort worker Marcelita Dayawan. The kidnappers are believed to have turned over their captives to the Abu Sayyaf in Tawi-Tawi or Sulu.

This has been done in the past with other hostages seized from Malaysian resorts. And more kidnappings are likely, because the risks are worth the massive profits. Even if Malaysian negotiators who are now in Mindanao manage to whittle down that P500-million ransom demand, just a tenth of the amount will be an enormous fortune for bandits living in some of the most impoverished provinces in the Philippines.

Ransom payments encourage more kidnappings. This is the reason why several governments strictly adhere to a no-ransom policy. At the height of its notoriety, the Abu Sayyaf under Ghalib Andang, better known as Commander Robot, reportedly earned a whopping $30 million for European tourists kidnapped from another Malaysian resort in Sipadan. Andang was later arrested and killed in a prison riot, but no one knows where the money forked out by the Libyan government went.

Ransom can be paid to secure the safe release of hostages, but authorities must make sure the payment will lead to the arrest of kidnappers and the money can be recovered. As long as bandits are able to enjoy the huge profits from their crime, there will be no end to kidnapping for ransom, whether in Mindanao or Malaysia.

vuukle comment

ABU SAYYAF

ANDANG

COMMANDER ROBOT

FILIPINA

GAO HUA YAN

GHALIB ANDANG

MARCELITA DAYAWAN

MINDANAO

RANSOM

SABAH

SINGAMATA REEF RESORT

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