EDITORIAL - A resurgent threat
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2014 - 12:00am

About two decades ago, Chinese Filipinos marched in the streets of Metro Manila, demanding protection from kidnappers targeting their community, with some of the victims killed. A police crackdown that human rights activists considered brutal put an end to the scourge.

The problem resurfaced periodically in subsequent years, but not on the same scale as the heyday of notorious groups such as the Red Scorpion and Kuratong Baleleng. Police teams were formed specifically to fight kidnappers, and the lawmen typically employed lethal force in dealing with kidnapping rings.

The worst threats usually come from rogue cops and soldiers, and from teams initially organized by state security forces to infiltrate threat groups but later go out of control. The Kuratong Baleleng was set up by the military initially as a vigilante group against communist rebels. Lawmen are reportedly exploring a similar angle, along with the possibility of police involvement, as several ransom kidnappings, all targeting Chinese Filipinos, were reported in recent days.

Early last Thursday, businessman Benito Chao was found dead in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, hours after he was kidnapped in Caloocan City on Wednesday.  The kidnappers reportedly demanded P20 million in ransom from Chao’s family. Two other kidnappings were reportedly perpetrated last week, also with Tsinoys as victims, with the gunmen claiming they were raising election campaign funds.

Like carjacking, kidnapping persists because the immense profits make the criminally inclined believe that the risks are worth it. Apart from catching kidnappers, law enforcers must coordinate with proper authorities to ensure that ransom payments are not laundered.

No one must benefit from kidnapping. Anything bought with dirty money must be seized by the state. Aside from showing that kidnappers can’t get away with their crime, law enforcement authorities must leave no doubt that kidnapping does not pay.

BENITO CHAO BULACAN CALOOCAN CITY CHINESE FILIPINOS KIDNAPPERS KIDNAPPING KURATONG BALELENG METRO MANILA POLICE RED SCORPION AND KURATONG BALELENG TSINOYS
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