Ex-policemen, military involved in casino kidnapping cases

Casino loan sharks in the Philippines have reportedly been hiring ex-policeman and military officers to do their bidding, according to the Philippines Anti-Kidnapping Group on Sunday. 

Maj. Rannie Lumactod, chief of the PNP-AKG’s operations management division said that there were ex-servicemen that were dismissed due to irregularities found working with the loan sharks. 

“We have ongoing manhunt operations against these individuals, former military and police personnel,” he said.

According to Lumactod, some of these men were ranking officers of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines when they were still in the service. 

“These are scalawags or those who went AWOL and have no jobs,” added AKG director Col. Jonnel Estomo.

Lumactod said the rise in kidnappings was due to an increase in Chinese visitors to the country, noting that the country’s visa-upon-arrival policy has exacerbated this increase further. 

Lumactod is pushing for the establishment of AKG desks at the airports for faster coordination between police and immigration personnel.

Lumactod said the language barrier has also been a problem, which was why the PNP-AKG would be sending some of its men to Beijing to learn Mandarin.

Last month, the PNP announced it is set to deploy at least two of its Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) strike teams near casinos with a high prevalence of kidnappings, local media reports.

Based on AKG data obtained by the Manila Bulletin, there was a total of 53 casino-related cases were reported since 2017.