Crimes and illegal activities in the country involving Chinese may be considered "isolated" by the Chinese Embassy in Manila but not something that would be easily brushed off by law enforcers, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar.
"Sa atin we deal and we consider every crime as something that we have to investigate so—siguro 'yung mga terminologies lang—isolated sa kanila pero sa atin this is something that concerns us that's why nagka-conduct tayo ng thorough investigation of this," Eleazar told reporters on the sidelines of a Senate hearing related to operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) on Thursday.
"We have accounted for 73 casino-related kidnapping cases which have been reported to us. Eh you can just imagine 'yung mga hindi na-report 'di ba, for sure mayroon 'yan. Maaaring isolated ang sinasabi nila kasi sa dami ng mga Chinese nationals eh 73 cases lang 'yung nangyari," he added.
During the Senate inquiry, Eleazar said that those 73 incidents transpired from 2017 to 2020. All the 80 kidnap victims were Chinese and 142 suspects were arrested.
The number of casino-related kidnapping cases notably spiked in 2019 at 38. During that year, seven homicide incidents involving Chinese nationals were also recorded, according to Eleazar.
Meanwhile, 173 Chinese nationals were also rescued by police from prostitution dens in the country.
The Chinese Embassy on Wednesday said crimes involving Chinese nationals in the Philippines were "only isolated incidents and cannot represent the whole picture of China-Philippines relations."
For his part, Senate blue ribbon committee chairperson Richard Gordon, who led the Senate probe, is not convinced by the statement of the embassy.
"Of course, they are representatives of their country, they are trying to put their country in a good light but it cannot be denied na maraming crimes ang related eh," he said. — RSJ, GMA News