GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Police investigators in Region 12 are reviewing carnapping cases in the city and the neighboring areas in the last several months that allegedly involved the notorious Baktin carnapping network.
Senior Supt. Romeo Campomanes, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) Region 12 director, said he directed the review to help track down the syndicate’s possible cohorts in the region.
He said they are also checking the records of some of the stolen vehicles that were recovered in the region in the last several months.
“This (Baktin group) is a big syndicate and its operations also cover parts of Luzon and the Visayas area. It appeared in the past that its network had actively operated in the region,” he said in a radio interview.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Campomanes said they have already alerted police units in the region for the possible presence of the carnapping group’s alleged leader, Ryan Yu alias Baktin, and its other members.
Last week, police operatives in Davao City recovered 23 vehicles that were allegedly stolen by the Baktin group.
The stolen vehicles were found in a warehouse supposedly operated by Yu in Barangay Aquino.
Yu, who now carries a P5 million bounty offered by Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, had eluded arrest but four members of the syndicate were arrested following the recovery of additional stolen vehicles in Surigao.
Early this year, the HPG-12 recovered 16 stolen motor vehicles here and the neighboring areas as part of a series of operation in connection with a special intelligence project dubbed Case Operation Plan “Inbox.”
The recovered vehicles, which included several sports utility vehicles, were part of the 26 stolen units that were recovered by HPG in the second phase of their operations against the Baktin group, which it described as a big time carnapping and carjacking group operating nationwide.
The Baktin group was considered a top player in carnapping operations in the country and runs the “re-birthing” of stolen vehicles, or from hot cars to commercial-ready units, HPG records showed.
Among the carnapped vehicles that were recovered in the city was a white Hyundai Starex van that was forcibly takenfrom a businessman in Angeles City and replaced with a license plate assigned to another car registered to movie and television celebrity Luis Manzano.
Manzano had earlier surrendered the plate number to the LTO after he decided to convert his Nissan Sentra car into a taxi unit. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)