Two Chinese casino workers were arrested on Thursday for their role in abducting a gambler who failed to provide payment to a loan shark syndicate in Parañaque City.
identified Zhu Peijian and Jiang Zhenqiang as the culprits
The Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) identified Zhu Peijian and Jiang Zhenqiang as the culprits, making the arrest in the early morning hours. The victim, Jiang Longgen, was rescued at the same time as the arrests. Casino kidnapping over gambling debt is rising in the region, with authorities continually working on cases such as this one.
Hotel staff acted swiftly
The kidnapping of Longgen took place at a hotel after the gambler failed to pay back a gambling debt. When the gambler was taken, security personnel of the hotel where Longgen was staying were alerted and contacted authorities immediately. The success in locating the victim was due to the quick action of the hotel personnel.
According to Maj. Ronaldo Lumactod, a spokesperson for the PNP-AKG, the incident is similar to the past method of operation involving loan sharks providing loans to losing gamblers.
The syndicate has gone so far as to film the victims as they are tortured to force the relatives to pay the debt. Due to casino-related kidnappings, the director of the PNP-AKG, Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, met with casino managers to discuss cooperation as well as how to coordinate in tackling the incidents.
Casino officials agreed that personnel would be fully cooperative with police in working to prevent such kidnappings from taking place by Chinese nationals who work for casino loan sharks.
The number of reported kidnappings over gambling debt is on the rise and has been for the past few years. Since 2017, more than 50 cases have been recorded. Most of the kidnapping cases involve Chinese nationals who act as loan sharks.
Director Estomo stated in August 2019 that the increase in kidnappings is due to the hotel and casino growth in the Philippines. He also stated that the large number of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) operating in the region is also a contributor.