Philippine authorities have arrested eight men alleged to be members of a Chinese “kidnap for ransom” gang targeting employees of the nation’s online gaming industry.
According to a report by Reuters, the arrests took place in San Pedro south of Manila on Saturday and included the alleged leader of the gang, known as Xiaopen-Nanlu. The gang targets Chinese nationals working in the Philippines POGO industry and demand a ransom for their safe return.
However, authorities launched a sting operation last month after one victim, Lyu Long, was killed despite his supervisor having already paid a ransom of RMB400,000 (US$62,000). Lyu was one of two employees of a Chinese-owned electronics firm kidnapped in December.
Another victim, Guang Lin, was also shot and left for dead but survived the shooting and later identified his kidnappers to police, Reuters said.
Kidnappings related to the Philippines’ online gaming industry have become an increasing concern in recent years, with around 150,000 Chinese nationals said to be working for POGOs.
The Philippine National Police said last year that had been 73 casino-related kidnappings in the previous three years, with incidents increasing from 17 in 2017 to 16 cases in 2018 and 38 cases in 2019.