The Philippine National Police will hold a summit for its Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) today to discuss the recent spate of casino-related kidnappings in Manila.
The summit, under the theme “Strategic Partnership and Collaboration Towards a Kidnap-Free Philippines,” will be attended by multiple government agencies including PAGCOR, the 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, according to Philippine News Agency.
Private sector groups such as the Federation of Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCII), the heads of security for local casinos and foreign embassies will also attend.
“There will be an AKG Summit Template [examining] new approaches and procedures, specific issues and problems, probable causes, interventions, expected output and timeline on how to address the problems,” said AKG director Col. Jonnel Estomo.
An AKG spokesman revealed that there have been 61 cases of casino-related kidnappings since 2017, rising from 17 cases in 2017 and 16 in 2018 to 28 so far as of 21 September 2019.
Those cases have seen 132 people arrested of which 119 were Chinese nationals, two Malaysians, four Koreans and seven Filipinos. Those rescued have comprised 57 Chinese nationals, four Malaysians, three Koreans and a handful of other nationalities.
The spokesman said the opening of new casinos during the past three years has “invited syndicates with criminal minds to [be involved] in a wicked business of loan sharking inside the casino premises. Thus, incidents of kidnapping related to gambling debt arises from 2017 to date.”