Philippines President Duterte Says Chinese Casino Kidnappers Will Be Killed
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has a reputation for being ruthless and that came out once again when he issued a stern warning regarding the casino industry. The President minced no words when he said that any foreigners who kidnap gamblers in the Philippines will be caught and be brought in dead or alive.
The President made these comments during a recent speech at the launch of a Hong Kong-backed property firm. His comments were in response to the recent surge of crimes that targeted Chinese nationals in the Philippines. Many of these crimes were connected to organized crime syndicates.
In a statement, President Duterte said
There are foreigners who come here to play their trade, lending money, and if the debtor cannot pay, they kidnap and sometimes they ask for a ransom. And even with the delivery of the money, they just go ahead and kill the victim.
Duterte continued that he will not hesitate to end these criminals. The Philippines has been experiencing a sudden surge in crimes that involve Chinese nationals. These range from drug smuggling and gambling to undocumented workers from the Chinese mainland operating in the country.
This is mostly because the country has become a major haven for gambling relative activities. Considering its proximity, the Philippines is a favorite destination for Chinese players.
Chinese nationals are given a number of perks by junket operators who encourage them to visit Manila and gamble.
A number of Chinese gamblers end up losing large sums of money and getting into massive debt. A number of these unlucky Chinese gamblers are then held for ransom until payment is received. Many of the syndicates behind these operations are led by Chinese heads but have Filipino ex-policemen as their muscle.
Besides the kidnapping schemes, the Philippines has also become the base for investment scams that target Chinese living in the mainland. Recently, local authorities arrested more than 200 Chinese nationals that were involved in an investment scam that used cryptocurrencies.
Cracking Down On Chinese Crime
The rise in crime has the authorities concerned. In his speech, Duterte insisted that legitimate businessmen were welcome but he would crack down on all companies and individuals involved in illegal acts.
The Philippine government is also taking a tough stance to reducing crime involving Chinese nationals.