Foreign Gamblers In the Philippines At Risk Of Being Kidnapped By Loan Sharks
Gambling enthusiasts in the Philippines are at risk of being kidnapped if they accept offers from unscrupulous loan sharks.
This warning was issued by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in an effort to caution individuals who play at casinos in the Philippines.
The bureau has strongly cautioned gamblers, especially foreign nationals, to not interact with people not employed by the casino. These individuals usually approach unsuspecting gamblers and offer them loans. Accepting the said deal may lead to one being abducted pending repayment!
Abducted Chinese Nationals Freed by NBI
The warning comes after three Chinese nationals were reportedly kidnapped and forced to stay in a hotel room in Paranaque City in Southern Metro Manila after failing to repay their gambling debts. The kidnapping was allegedly perpetrated by five Chinese nationals and a Filipino-Chinese loan shark.
According to the NBI, the victims were compelled to pay PHP7 million (US$134,617) upon being kidnapped, as payment and interest for a casino loan of PHP1.5 million (US$28,797).
Three of the alleged abductors were arrested on May 31 and the NBI went on to free the three Chinese victims – Junrong Jia, Xuejian Li and Quijin Tian. The suspects are facing abduction charges as well as the violation of the country’s Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998.
NBI deputy director Vicente de Guzman revealed that the victims were reportedly persuaded to go to the Philippines with the promise of being loaned a large sum of money to go gambling at the casinos.
Meanwhile, the three other suspects, named Peter Lim Santos, Wang Liping and Au Pang Liang, were seized by authorities after attempting to bribe NBI marshals PHP1 million in exchange for the emancipation of Junrong Jia, Xuejian Li and Quijin Tian.
The three suspects were nabbed during an entrapment operation that saw the trio hand over PHP570,000 in initial payment as a bribe to NBI agents.
Macau Also Battling Gambling Related Kidnappings
Kidnapping cases involving gambling-related loans and abduction is a constant threat in the Asian casino market. Macau has gained a notorious reputation in the past due to such incidents and it continues to be a problem in 2019.
Macau’s Secretary of Security office reports that it has handled 128 cases involving opportunistic gaming loan sharks in the first three months of 2019, up 25.5 percent year-on-year when compared to the same period in 2018. It has also seen 81 cases of illegal detention due to casino arrears in this first quarter of 2019, an increase of 37.3 percent from last year.