CEBU is abuzz these days with talks about the presence of the Korean mafia in our midst. But not necessarily in hushed voices.

President Rody Duterte started it all when he said the Korean mafia is “strongest in Cebu” and engaged in drug trafficking and running a prostitution ring.

Now every law enforcement agency in Cebu is looking for the Korean mafia like a needle in a haystack of Koreans.


PDEA 7 chief Yogi Ruiz said he heard about the Korean mafia in Cebu. But PRO 7 Director Noli Taliño said they’re still validating its presence in Cebu.

In Mandaue, police said Koreans were involved in minor traffic incidents, with some drunks causing ruckus in bars, hardly the things the mafia does.

No rivals mowed down in a hail of bullets. No broken arms or legs by wooden clubs. Most probably, no mafia.


Consul Yong Sang Lee, the Korean Consulate in Cebu’s police attache, said “There’s no Korean mafia in Cebu, only individual gangster.”

Lee said there were more than 20 Korean nationals who hid in Cebu to evade prosecution at home, but they have been deported.

They could have been potential mafia members. So now, the Korean mafia in Cebu is left with no members.


The mafia, by its nature, is a secretive group. Members swear by omerta, a strict code of silence on criminal activity or giving evidence to authorities.

That’s the reason law enforcers know nothing about the Korean mafia in Cebu.

Why? Even if a Korean mafioso shouts at the top of his voice who he is, the police still wouldn’t know because they don’t understand Korean.


But President Rody, who started all these buzz about the Korean mafia in Cebu, said only two out of every five of his statements are true.

“In every five statements I make, only two are true while the three are just jokes,” he said.

Was he joking when he talked about the Korean mafia in Cebu?