BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/ 18 September)—Two Chinese nationals were rescued on Monday afternoon after being held captive for two days by kidnappers in Surigao del Sur, the Philippine National Police in Region 13 (Caraga region) said in a report released Tuesday morning.
Police identified the rescued victims as Defeng Li, 43, and Liguang Yang, 48, both from Guangxi province, China. They were snatched inside their residence in Barangay 2, San Francisco town in Agusan del Sur last Saturday at around 8 p.m. together with a Filipina, Jonah Lavinia.
On Sunday, the local police conducted follow-up operations as a PNP Special Investigation Task Force was activated in coordination with the Anti-Kidnapping Group from Davao City. The suspects released Lavinia on this day, police said.
Chief Supt. Carmelo E. Valmoria, Caraga police director, said the kidnappers initially demanded P1 million for the release of the two Chinese nationals, but later reduced it to P200,000.
Valmoria said the friends of the Chinese nationals were able to produce only P150,000, which was used in a dragnet operation.
After two of the suspects got the money, police authorities tailed them that resulted to a gunfight in Barangay Wakat in Barobo, Surigao del Norte at around 1 p.m. last Monday, he added.
One of the suspects was killed in the gunfight while a policeman, Senior Police Officer 2 Vicente San Pablo of the Barobo municipal police station, was wounded in the leg, Valmoria said.
“We believe that the Perez group was behind this since the dead suspect was later identified as Rejoice Brital alias Bolantay. This person is the niece of Joebert Perez or Ondo Perez,” the police official said.
Valmoria said the Perez group was behind the kidnappings in Agusan del Sur last year and the series of robberies in the area, including last March’s robbery in San Francisco town.
Two hours after the gunfight in Barobo town, police operatives eventually rescued the Chinese victims in Barangay Bocawe, Lianga town in Surigao del Sur, a report from the Surigao del Sur Provincial Police Office said.
Four suspects, fleeing on two motorcycles, abandoned the victims there, police said.
Authorities were able to recover the P150,000 ransom money and a .45 caliber pistol from the slain suspect in the Barobo town encounter.
Valmoria said the Chinese nationals have been in the custody of the Regional Police Office inside Camp Rafael C. Rodriguez, and that Yang has been given medical attention for his diabetes and the trauma from the kidnapping. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)