PNP, NBI deny existence of Korean mafia in Philippines

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday both maintained that they are yet to establish the involvement of a Korean mafia on businessman Jee Ick-joo's kidnap-slay case.

PNP-Anti-kidnapping Group (AKG) director Glenn Dumlao, however, revealed that there are Korean nationals who work for erring policemen by providing them information about possible targets, but it cannot be classified as a mafia.

"There are some Koreans who are here and engaged in illegal activities, acting as foreign agents to law enforcement agency, mga nagtuturo ng mga target. It’s not Korean mafia that is actually involved," he said during the resumption of Senate hearing on alleged cases of "tokhang for ransom."

Police Regional Office-Central Luzon director Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino said in the case of the three Korean nationals who were harassed by police personnel in Angeles City, Pampanga, a Korean pointer whom he identified as “Thomas” was involved.

“There is a particular case that happened on December 30, wherein there is an involvement of a Korean national in the abduction of three Korean nationals just playing golf in Angeles City. This involved seven policemen assigned in Angeles City Police Office,” he said.

The three Korean golfers were accused of being involved in illegal online gambling and were forcibly taken to a police station in Pampanga and for their release, the police personnel asked them for P300,000.

Aquino said the Korean pointer gets 10 percent from erring policemen for each successful operation.

For its part, NBI Assistant Director Medardo Delemos said at the moment, they cannot categorically state a positive or negative answer whether or not a Korean mafia is involved in Jee’s case.

Earlier, Dumlao said they are investigating on the possible involvement of a syndicate composed of government officials who were involved in the extortion of foreign businessmen in the country.

He said as an owner of a manpower agency, Jee, who refused to give in to their extortion, had became a target.

Dumlao said suspects behind Jee’s kidnap-slay intended to murder him to instill fear to other foreign businessmen in the country who will refuse to give them extortion money.

“The motive behind was to murder him (Jee),” he said.

“Jee was a straight person. Ayaw niya sa extortion…Dahil ayaw niya sa extortion, pati ‘yung mga ibang legitimate na Korean and Chinese businessmen, ayaw na ring magbayad sa mga nage-extort. Kaya ‘yan ‘yung sinasabing mafia-style to kill a person to instill fear sa iba. That way, magbibigay na rin ‘yung iba,” he added.

Lacson wants thorough probe

However, Senator Panfilo Lacson challenged both agencies to seriously investigate this matter, raising the fact that this has damaged the whole country's image in the international community.

“We have to take this case seriously. It has damaged the image of the Philippines in the international community. Our country’s image is at stake,” Lacson said during the hearing.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV also said that if it is true that foreign syndicates are using rogue cops in the country for their interest, then the situation is "really serious."

However, he added that it is imperative that officials present the necessary evidence to support their claims, especially regarding the involvement of Korean embassy personnel with the alleged Korean mafia. (SunStar Philippines)
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