'Kidnapping wave': China urges Philippines to protect its citizens

·Senior Editor
·2 min read
Photo illustration of two kidnap victims in kidnapping wave
Photo illustration of two kidnap victims. The Chinese Embassy in Manila has requested authorities in the Philippines to protect its citizens amid the spate kidnapping cases involving Chinese nationals.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila has urged authorities to protect the "legitimate rights and interests" of Chinese citizens in the country, amid a series of kidnapping cases with Chinese victims.

According to a statement sent to Inquirer, the embassy noted the frequent cases of "kidnapping, blackmailing, illegal detention, and other vicious cases" targeting Chinese nationals due to online gaming and telecommunications fraud.

While urging Philippine agencies to strengthen law enforcement cooperation, it also reminded Chinese citizens to "keep away from immoral activities" and to avoid online gambling and telecommunications fraud.

A Senate hearing on the "kidnapping wave" that has reportedly victimized dozens, including Chinese and Filipinos, has been set for Thursday (September 15). The hearing will also address videos showing supposed victims being tortured by their captors, some of whom appeared to be foreigners, that have circulated.

Senators Grace Poe and JV Ejercito pushed for the inquiry in separate resolutions, noting that the Philippine National Police had so far presented conflicting statistics about the number of cases.

Poe noted that the cases had created a "state of fear, anxiety and vulnerability among Filipinos", while Ejercito was particularly disturbed by the proliferation of video clips of alleged kidnap victims being tortured. One clip showed a blindfolded man whose left ear was severed as two other persons held him down.

Ejercito also urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to direct police to solve the kidnappings, claiming that criminal syndicates are "testing the waters."

PNP chief denies kidnappings

Separately, PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. has denied the supposed kidnappings of Chinese-Filipino nationals in Metro Manila, claiming that the clips circulating actually show old incidents made to look as if they happened recently.

Nevertheless, more policemen have been deployed near Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) establishments in the capital region, amid an increasing number of abducted POGO workers.

According to PNP data, out of 27 kidnapping cases from January to September this year, 15 were POGO-related. This is slightly higher from the 12 recorded in the same period in 2021.

Azurin noted that identifying foreign nationals in POGO companies, as well as legitimate operators, is difficult because of a lack of records. He added that members of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. had told him that "the [recent] reported kidnappings are not true."