President Duterte Says Casino Kidnappers Should be Killed
October 3rd, 2019 3.00pm
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is known around the world for his controversial statements, and we’re sure the latest one is likely to cause even more comments.
The populist politician gave a speech at the opening of a financing company in the nation’s capital last week, and he used the opportunity to speak about the recent rise of gaming-related kidnappings in the country.
An Alarming Rise in the Number of Kidnappings
Earlier this year, the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group revealed that more than 50 Chinese nationals had been held against their will since 2017, after borrowing money from loan sharks. The Chinese arrive in the Philippines to gamble, as they cannot gamble legally in their home country. Once they borrow money, the majority of them are unable to repay their debts, and the loan sharks who are mostly Chinese as well – coerce the relatives of the gamblers to honour their debts.
Duterte said there were foreigners who came to the Philippines to “play their trade” – lending money – and pointed out they often kidnap their debtors for ransom. He even went on to say he would prefer if police were to stop arresting gaming-related kidnappers and instead just kill them on spot! He added he didn’t care about their citizenship, and wouldn’t have a problem with telling that to the ambassador of the country they came from.
“To me, you are just another carcass.”
According to President, the kidnappers represent a cost to the country, and with the ongoing crisis sweeping the Philippines, killing them would be a preferable solution.
“One mouth less would be good for the country,” said Duterte.
Problems with Illegal Workers
Since taking the office in 2016, President Duterte has often used threats, while extrajudicial killings have been on the rise during his presidency.
According to the available information, the kidnappers use locals to help them in abducting and guarding their victims. The investigation showed these locals are often former and current police and military officers. Duterte warned them they would be the first to die!
But Duterte also sent a warning to Chinese nationals doing business in the Philippines, advising them to “behave” and “obey the rules”, as they have a long history of harbouring illegal workers in their buildings and for the manufacture of and trafficking of illegal drugs,
“If you are a drug lord, or if I catch you importing or manufacturing drugs and you destroy my country in the process, I will kill you.”
According to a recent estimate, nearly 14,000 undocumented foreign nationals are working for companies operating in the country, offering online gambling to other markets, known as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).
Only a couple of weeks ago, the authorities closed one of the biggest POGO providers which left more than 8,000 workers – mostly Chinese – without a job.
POGO providers have a history of avoiding paying their tax bills, which has resulted in a major crackdown on the entire industry. At this moment, POGOs owed more than £330 in taxes.
Back in August, an illegal worker from China died while trying to escape from a POGO call centre. The poor man was handcuffed when he fell from a fifth-story window.
Loan shark and kidnapping stories like these can often be heard in the Philippines, and many of them include violent details. Even the National Bureau of Investigation issued warning to gamblers to say clear of anyone offering to lend them money on a casino property
According to available information, the gambling issue was even one of the topics of the meeting between President Duterte and China’s President Xi Jinping.
Foreigners came to the Philippines to “play their trade”, said Duterte.