The number of people to have fallen victim to casino-related kidnappings in the Philippines has soared in 2019, with more than double the amount of kidnappings through the first nine months of the year than throughout all of 2018.
The figure was revealed during a summit held by the Philippine National Police (PNP) for its Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) last Friday, titled “Strategic Partnership and Collaboration Towards a Kidnap-Free Philippines.”
According to the Philippines Inquirer, the summit revealed police data showing there have already been 35 victims of casino-related kidnappings in 2019, 106% more than the 17 kidnapped last year. Of those victims, 27 have been Chinese, three Malaysian, two South Koreans and one each from the United States, Australia and Vietnam.
The total number of documented cases in 2019 has reached 31 compared with 16 last year.
In response, police units have increased their presence near casinos with 44 people arrested of which 40 have been from mainland China. Police figures show that just 17 Chinese were arrested for similar offences through all of 2018.
It was also revealed that the PNP’s Anti-Kidnapping Group has established satellite offices near casinos and offshore gaming hubs in Parañaque and Pasay as a means of ensuring faster response times when kidnapping incidents are reported.