NO less than President Rodrigo Duterte is the source of the information about the supposed existence of a South Korean mafia engaged in illegal drug trade and prostitution in Cebu. Had the source been only Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, who is acting more like a police officer than a legislator, or an unnamed source, the information could have been refuted easily by local authorities.

The South Korean Consular Office “violently reacted” to the claim and said there is no South Korean mafia here but only gangsters. By “gangsters” it meant fugitives from Korea who are hiding here and who have already been rounded up and deported back to Korea. PRO 7 chief Noli Talino said they are still validating the information. Meaning that he is treating the information as half true.

I don’t think the President would open his mouth without full information about the matter. He must have received the information from other branches of the intelligence service.

But before we argue about it, we should first consider how the mafia works. The word “mafia” refers to an organized crime syndicate. It controls everything, from the corner dealer to labor union officials to high-level politicians.

The mafia that originated in Sicily, Italy in the 1800s was into criminal activities. It engaged in assassinations, trading of illegal drugs, illegal gambling, smuggling, carnapping, prostitution, game fixing and sex tourism, among others.

Now, who carnapped the Starex van of Ramon and Karla Fernandez in their residence in Kasambagan several years ago? The vehicle, together with other carnapped units, was recovered few months later when the police raided a car repair shop in Mandaue City operated by a Korean businessman. The shop changed and tampered the engine and chassis numbers of carnapped vehicles and repainted them. Some undocumented Korean nationals worked in that shop. Was that a work of the mafia?

Who masterminded the killing of two Korean nationals who where “burned to death” inside a vehicle in a secluded place in Danao City several years ago? According to the police, the motive of the killing was business rivalry with fellow Koreans. Several Korean businessmen in Lapu-Lapu City were killed years ago and the motive was said to be either personal or business rivalry with their compatriots. Was the mafia behind those crimes?

In several instances, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided condominium units and high-end residential houses following information that the tenants there were engaged in illegal on-line gaming. Those behind these crimes were Koreans and Chinese nationals.

I am mentioning these so local authorities can determine if those were the works of a Korean mafia.