Palace concerned over abduction of S. Korean
The reported kidnapping of a South Korean businessman by a crooked policeman, who allegedly used President Duterte’s unyielding war on drugs to carry out the crime, was a “matter of concern,” a Malacañang official said on Sunday.
Dubbed as “Tokhang for ransom,” the ploy has cops knocking on the doors of big businessmen in the fashion of the national law enforcement project, only this one involves kidnapping and extortion.
Ernesto Abella, Mr. Duterte’s spokesperson, deferred to comment fully on the case of Jee Ick-joo, 53, who was forcibly taken on Oct. 18 from his house in Angeles City by two men, one of whom was allegedly a member of the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG) in Camp Crame.
He said he would still have to confirm from the authorities the circumstances regarding the foreign national’s disappearance.
“We can say that it’s a matter of concern, but it’s not alarming because the police scalawags are already existing,” Abella told the Inquirer in a mobile phone interview.
“I will confirm this case and I’ll see what I can do,” he added.
Earlier, Jee’s wife, Choi Kyung-jin, said in an interview that she has no plans to go after the kidnappers. “I am just after my husband,” she said.
She said she hoped the President would use his authority to locate her husband’s whereabouts.
“If my husband comes back to us alive, I will not file any case against the kidnappers, stop all cases that are ongoing and I will go back to my country, Korea, with [my] husband,” she said in her plea on social media.
Choi, who last saw her husband at 9 a.m. on Oct. 18, was unable to contact him until the following day.
Neighbors then surfaced to report what they saw: her husband being dragged into his black SUV by several men, one of whom was identified as a policeman.
Choi saw the incident as captured by a security camera at the house across the street.
No amount of resistance was able to stop the kidnappers, who even got help from a group of men aboard another vehicle—a black Toyota Hilux—parked in front of the house. The vehicle later turned out to be registered under the name of the wife of the suspect police officer.
Marisa Dawis, the couple’s helper, was also abducted.
Investigation by the PNP-AIDG showed that two men initially went inside the house and introduced themselves as police officers, conducted a search and eventually destroyed closets in the process.
PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group Luzon unit chief Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil Jr., in a letter addressed to Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva, recommended the investigation of the suspects for kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention.
The suspects are one police officer assigned to the PNP-AIDG, another identified male, three unidentified men with detailed descriptions and several “John Does.” The names of the identified suspects were withheld upon request of Choi for fear of further harm of her family.
On her own, Choi negotiated with the kidnappers after they texted her, demanding a ransom of P8 million. She delivered the the negotiated amount—P5 million—to the designated location but her husband was not released.
Three days after, the kidnappers demanded an additional P4.5 million which she could no longer deliver.
She had no recourse then but to tell the police of the ransom payment.
No word has been heard from the kidnappers since then.
Choi said it was her hope that her husband remained alive and well.
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