By Martin Sadongdong
Five Chinese nationals, who were managing a Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) firm, have been arrested by the anti-kidnapping group (AKG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) after they allegedly abducted two compatriots who used to work for them, police said Friday.
Police Colonel Jonnel Estomo, acting director of the PNP-AKG, identified the suspects as Zou Jian Cong, 26; Yang Yu Yang, 41; Bruce Gao Zhan, 26; Chen Xing Ding, 49; and Wang Jian Bo, 31.
The suspects were behind the operations of Di Wang Online Gaming located in McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
Police also arrested the security officers of the building where the POGO firm is located for obstruction of justice. They were identified as Jose Marlito, Pepe Mengullo, and Welson Borlado.
According to investigation, the five suspects kidnapped their two former employees identified as Wang Zhe, 21, and Zhang Jia, 32, near a hotel in Pasay City last September 27.
According to the victims, they left the POGO firm on September 16 after learning that they were working in an online gaming company which was considered illegal in China.
Hence, the victims decided to process their travel documents at the Chinese Embassy, only to be kidnapped by the suspects, and snatched by forcing them into a white van when they were about to get their papers.
The victims were brought to the office of the Di Wang Online Gaming where they were held captive for nearly a week.
The police revealed that the suspects demanded an initial ransom worth ¥80,000 (renminbi or Chinese yuan) or around P578,000 from the families of the victims.
In a series of negotiations from September 28 to 30, the families of the victims had paid twice to the suspects through money transfer: the first was worth ¥68,000 or around P492,000 and the other was ¥219,000 or around P1.58 million.
However, despite the payment of ransom, the victims were not released and the suspects kept on asking for more money, Estomo said.
A friend of the victims then sought help of the authorities on Wednesday, October 2.
Estomo directed the AKG Luzon Field Unit headed by Police Lieutenant Colonel Villaflor Bannawagan to raid the building, and rescue the victims.
However, the responding policemen were barred from entering the building by the three security officers.
The policemen were only allowed to conduct the operation after two hours of negotiation, leading to the arrest of the suspects and the rescue of the victims.
Estomo said the five Chinese suspects and three security officers were subjected for inquest proceedings before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday for kidnapping for ransom with serious illegal detention, and obstruction of justice, respectively.
Meanwhile, the interpreter of the suspects, Brenda Ruvic, whom police said also works for the Di Wang Online Gaming, was recommended to be subjected for a preliminary investigation.