Cops to learn Chinese languages as part of anti-kidnap ops

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) plans to send some police officers to foreign language schools in order to expedite the processing of gambling-related kidnapping cases involving foreigners, particularly Chinese nationals.

“Currently, we have to ask for the assistance of some groups to send interpreters in the conduct of our investigation, especially in getting the statements from the victims, suspects and witnesses who could not speak and understand Filipino and English,” said PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) director, Col. Jonnel Estomo.

At present, the AKG is seeking help from non-government organizations like the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO) and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) for interpreters.

Since 2017, the AKG recorded 53 cases of casino-related kidnappings, which victimized 57 tourists, almost all of them are Chinese, and arrested 119 Chinese kidnappers.

The AKG attributed the rise of casino-related kidnappings to the presence of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), which are now employing more than 200,000 Chinese.

Estomo said that there is a need for them to have a team of organic personnel who could understand and speak Chinese languages like Mandarin and Cantonese.

He said this would not only help in the post-operation investigation and filing of cases but also in intelligence-gathering and case build-up against Chinese suspects.

The AKG is yet to draft the guideline on how it would implement the policy of training some of its personnel to learn Chinese languages.

Estomo said that the Chinese government earlier promised to assist the AKG on this project.

Earlier, the AKG will deploy police officers near hotels and casinos, in the wake of the surge in gambling-related kidnapping cases in the country.

AKG spokesperson, Lt. Col. Elmer Cereno said the AKG satellite office will be set up in a strategic area in the southern part of Metro Manila, where most of the hotels and casinos with a history of gambling-related kidnappings occurred since 2017.

Aside from putting satellite office, he said they will also deploy intelligence operatives in all casinos.

He said the victims are being lured by Chinese loan sharks to come to the Philippines for rest and recreation.

The victims would be allowed to borrow money that would be used to play in the casinos, Cereno said.

Once the victims failed to pay the money because lose in the casinos, they would be detained and tortured. The video of the torture would be sent to the relatives of the victims to force them to pay, Cereno said.

Casino junket operators, mostly Chinese nationals, through their agents, will also look for their compatriots abroad, as part of their efforts to target them for their illegal schemes, he added. PNA.GOV.PH