By Anthony Giron
IMUS CITY, Cavite — Nine alleged casino loan sharks have been charged in connection with the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of 11 foreign gambling patrons last April.
In a review resolution, Cavite Provincial Chief Prosecutor Gavino B. Mapanoo said that there was probable cause to hold all the suspects, two of them at large, liable for 11-counts of the offenses after they were positively identified by the complainants and with the investigation that was made.
Mapanoo said that the suspects were reported loan sharks in casinos of three new hotels in areas south of Metro Manila. The complainants are losing gambling patrons who have obtained loans from the suspects in amounts ranging from P100,000 to P1-million.
Loan sharks are moneylenders who charge high rates of interest, usually under illegal conditions. “These loan sharks that thrive in casinos have to be watched as they operate with abuses particularly with losing gambling patrons,” Mapanoo told this reporter in an interview at the Prosecutor’s Office.
In a two-page resolution, those named respondents were Teddy Uy Lim, Ji We Jun, Wang De Fong, Lin Peng, Hu Bao Ha, Yang Xu, Rufino Villa Ester Setenta and Andy Lim Tan and July Francisco Lee who are both at large.
The resolution identified the complainants as Ai Wu Rong, also known as Ai Wu Yong, Hu Ran, Huang Yong Zheng, Lin Ya Bin, Sun Ren Xim, Cao Yong Feng, Huang Zhi Ping, Zhang Ding, Fang Yu, Gao Wi, and Wu Jun Qiang.
Mapanoo said that the suspects reportedly held the 11 victims and brought to a house in Baypoint Subdivision in Barangay San Sebastian, Kawit, and Grand Centennial Homes Subdivision in Barangay San Antonio II, Noveleta.
Their arrest was made after Ai Wu Rong, who was in handcuffs, was able to escape at the house at Baypoint Subdivision last April 14.
As he was fleeing, Ai Wu Rong saw and sought the help of two police officers namely Staf Sergeant Jestoni Galon and Patrolman Troadio Balitaosan Jr. who were at the highway vicinity. The officers came to the rescue after attending to him and found some victims in the house tied and chained in the house.
With the rescue, another team of officers namely Master Sgt. Jaspher Aspiras, Staff Sgts. Jayson Rapiz and Jamil Payuran and Patrolman Jerry Cambarihas went to the house in Noveleta and found the other victims at the kitchen with one tied to a window.
When questioned, Ai Wu Rong narrated that he escaped with handcuffs at the front by passing through a glass window by removing its screw, scaled the grill and wall and had walked along a grassy area until he reached the highway where he saw the officers.
Mapanoo earlier sought the review of the resolution earlier submitted by an investigating prosecutor dismissing the complaints against the suspects, including the charge for violation of Republic Act 10591 against Rufino Villa Ester Setente, citing several valid reasons.
The complainants reportedly have returned to their homeland after filing the charges. They may no longer return to Manila thus showing their lack of interest in pursuing the case.
After the review, Mapanoo said that there is a basis for the suspects to be liable for kidnapping and serious illegal detention as charged.
“The allegations of the respondents in their respective counter-affidavits are matters of defense that can only be properly appreciated in court during a full-blown investigation trial,” Mapanoo said.
As to the claim that the complainants have left the country, Mapanoo said: “it is speculative and is not supported by any written document.”
“In view of the foregoing, it is hereby recommended that respondents, in conspiracy with one another, be charged with 11 counts of the offenses,” the chief prosecutor said…
However, the dismissal of the complaint about the violation of RA 10591 against Setenta had been affirmed for a reason, according to Mapanoo.
Kidnapping and serious detention are non-bailable crime offenses. The suspects are in jail, according to Mapanoo.