The Philippine National Police (PNP) is serious about the increasing cases of kidnappings related to gambling debts.
In a statement released to the press, PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) spokesperson, Lt. Col. Elmer Cereno said that the increase in the number of kidnappings due to gambling debts is because of the rise in the number of hotel and casino leisure facilities in the Philippines, which attracts many foreigners to the country.
“This invites syndicates with the criminal mind, to involve in a wicked business of loan sharking inside the casino premises. Thus, incidents of kidnapping related to gambling debt arise from 2017 to date,” Cereno said in a media statement on Thursday.
According to the official figures, since 2017, the PNP AKG recorded 52 cases of casino-related kidnappings and arrested 119 Chinese kidnappers.
“Consequently, it can also be attributed to the increasing numbers of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) operating in the Philippines. As of June 9, 2019, there were 56 licensed POGOs in the country, that employs an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 Chinese nationals. Yet, there were numbers (more or less 30) of illegal POGOS operating in the country,” Cereno said.
Earlier this year, Senator Leila De Lima called upon the Duterte administration to sharpen the execution of its policies and programs in regards to kidnappings related to gambling. The Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO) had been concerned with the increase in the number of abductions related to high-stakes gambling in the country.