THE Philippine National Police (PNP), probing into the abduction and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, is now suspecting involvement of Korean Mafia in the plot.

PNP-Anti-Kidnapping Group director Glenn Dumlao said a bigger drime syndicate may have been involved in the killing of Jee, which is composed of law enforcers and wealthy Korean nationals.

He said the powerful crime syndicate is also milking many other Korean businessmen in the country.

"This group is like an enterprise that is so well knit. In the Jee Ick-joo’s case, it just so happened that he is just a victim of the greed of people which wanted to attain a cartel as a mafia," said Dumlao.

He said Jee's business made him a target of the extortion syndicate.

Jee owns a manpower agency, which counts gaming tycoon Jack Lam as one of its prominent clients. Lam operates an online-gaming facility in Fontana Leisure Park in Clark, Pampanga.

"They have bagmen who are collecting and going around but he, being in a legitimate manpower business, he refuses to (be extorted)… We are following that line," Dumlao said.

Earlier, former PNP-Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) team leader Superintendent Rafael Dumlao, a suspect in Jee's murder, said there is a bigger group behind the crime that the PNP itself cannot destroy.

"Noong kami (Rafael) nag-usap, ang sabi niya sa akin because of the threats…kasi nung nag-usap nga kami na personal, ang sabi niya sa akin ‘hindi n’yo sila kaya’. Nung sinabi ko sa kanya na andito kami sa likod mo, sinira n’yo ‘yung imahe ng PNP, ibangon mo naman kahit magsabi ka lang ng totoo, ang sagot niya sa akin ay ‘hindi n’yo kaya.’ Ang sabi niya ‘(SPO3 Ricky) Sta isabel, demonyo ka.’ Tanong ko sa kanya ‘bakit takot ka kay Sta Isabel?’, ang sagot niya ay ‘hindi sir e, ang dami nila’," Glenn Dumlao said.

For his part, PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said he is not afraid of anyone particularly to the "big group" behind Jee's murder.

"Siguro yung mga inimplicate niya na malalaking officials sa NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), 'yun siguro ang kinakatakutan n'ya. Siya pwede matakot pero ako hindi matatakot," he said.

Describing the PNP as a "corrupt to the core," President Rodrigo Duterte halted the PNP's anti-drug operators and ordered the dismantling of all police narcotics units nationwide.

Jee was abducted from his house in Angeles City Pampanga by suspects who introduced themselves as members of the PNP on October 18.

He was then brought to Camp Crame where he was reportedly killed.

DOJ reopens probe

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has started its reinvestigation on the kidnapping and killing of Jee on Friday.

Seven out of eight respondents facing kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention complaints filed by the PNP-AKG in relation to Jee's abduction appeared at the DOJ.

The following presented themselves before the panel of prosecutors led by Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera:

SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas, PO2 Christopher Baldovino, Ramon Yalung, Jerry Omlang, Gerardo Gregorio Santiago and Christopher Alan Gruenberg.

Sta. Isabel, Omlang, Santiago, who are all under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), were escorted by NBI agents, while Villegas and Baldovino, both under the custody of the PNP were escorted by policemen.

Superintendent Rafael Dumlao, the alleged mastermind in the kidnapping of Jee was not present. His legal counsel cited security reasons for his failure to attend the hearing.

Also present are Jee's wife Choi Kyung-jin, and his house help Marisa Morquicho.

The panel of prosecutors has directed the Joint Investigation team of the NBI and the PNP-AKG led lawyer Medardo Delemos and Superintendent Glen Dumlao to submit within five days additional pleadings and complaints, including robbery, car-napping charges against the said respondents.

The panel has also ordered the respondents to submit their respective counter-affidavits in the next hearing on February 16 at 2 p.m. (SunStar Philippines)