PNP to host summit to tackle casino-kidnappings

The Philippines National Police is set to gather government agencies and officials on Friday to tackle the rise of casino-related kidnapping incidents in Quezon City, according to state media. 

In a statement on Thursday,  Philippine National Police-Anti Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) director Col. Jonnel Estomo said the summit, titled “Strategic Partnership and Collaboration Towards a Kidnap-Free Philippines”, will bring together officials of various government agencies, including  the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), Bureau of Immigration, Airport Police, Department of Justice, Department of Labor and Employment, Anti-Money Laundering Council, local government units, Philippine National Police and the Department of Foreign Affairs to discuss the rise in gambling-related kidnapping cases. 

The summit will host workshops and discussions relating to casino and POGO-related kidnapping cases. 

“There will be an AKG Summit Template, there new approaches and procedures, specific issues and problems, probable causes, interventions (programs, projects and activities), expected output and timeline on how to address the problems. And to craft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with different foreign embassies,” Estomo said.

Earlier, AKG spokesperson  Lt. Col. Elmer Cereno said the AKG has arrested 125 foreigners, mostly Chinese for casino-relating kidnapping. 

Cereno attributed the rise in kidnapping cases to a growing number of hotel and casino leisure facilities in the Philippines, which has attracted many foreigners to the country.

“This invites syndicates with criminal mind, to involve in a wicked business of loan sharking inside the casino premises. Thus, incidents of kidnapping related to gambling debt, arises from 2017 to date,” Cereno said.

He said casino junket operators, mostly Chinese nationals through their agents, would also look for their compatriots abroad, as part of their efforts to target them for their illegal schemes.