South Korean who twice gave BI agents the slip nabbed in Laguna
A SOUTH Korean national who twice escaped from detention by paying off his captors was recaptured early Sunday in Pagsanjan, Laguna, by joint operatives from the Bureau of Immigration and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp).
Cho Seong-dae was in the company of another Korean national identified as Kim Hyung-hul and his common law wife, Danica Anoñuevo when he was arrested in a house in Pagsanjan.
Cho escaped from the BI warden facility in Bicutan, Taguig City, on Sept. 29 and again from the Isafp detention cell in Camp Aguinaldo on Oct. 20. In both instances, Cho was being guarded by BI agents.
The fugitive was turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation. Kim was also arrested and charged with harboring a criminal and violation of immigration laws, while Anoñuevo was released.
Cho’s lawyer, however, told NBI head agent Peter Lugay that his client was asking not to be returned to the BI detention center for fear of his life.
“The Korean told his lawyer he fears for his life and informed him about the cell phone that contains evidence that could link at least 10 people to his repeated escapes,” Lugay told the Inquirer.
But the cell phone that supposedly contained the names of those who helped the Korean and other evidence was not among the items turned over to the NBI by his captors, the Inquirer learned Monday.
Speaking through an interpreter, Cho told his lawyer that the cell phone was taken from him by the arresting officers.
Lugay said they had asked for the turnover of Cho’s personal effects as part of their investigation into his escapes.
“We have asked for the personal effects of the Korean national as part of our investigation and we have yet to receive them,” Lugay said.
He said the recapture of Cho was a breakthrough in the investigation.
“The Korean national through his lawyer had expressed willingness to cooperate in the investigation,” Lugay said.
He also said security around the NBI headquarters had been tightened to ensure the safety of Cho who could implicate the people involved in his repeated escapes from detention.
The NBI was tasked to investigate how Cho was able to escape twice from custody.
The South Korean was first arrested for human trafficking and robbery-extortion in 2012 but escaped while receiving treatment in a hospital.
Immigration records showed he was being processed for deportation when he escaped while being guarded by Immigration agents.
He was arrested again after two weeks and was detained at the BI warden facility in Bicutan from where he escaped on Sept. 29.
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