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Philippine police search for 3 missing SKoreans

Philippine police search for 3 missing SKoreans

Three South Korean businessmen who have been missing for more than two weeks were abducted by unidentified men who lured them with a fake mining investment project in the southern Philippines, officials said Monday.
Police launched a search for Wu Seok-bung, Kim Nam-du, Choi In-soo and at least one Filipino guide after they failed to return to their hotel in southern Cagayan de Oro city on Oct. 21, city police Chief Gerardo Rosales said.
The three Koreans set off for the supposed mine site in Lanao del Sur province with their Filipino guide and three unidentified Muslim men and then vanished, Senior Superintendent Orlando Vinas said.
Details gathered by investigators strongly indicate the Koreans were abducted by a kidnap-for-ransom group, Vinas told The Associated Press. He said authorities have received information that they are being held near Lanao del Sur's Lake Lanao area.
"They were duped with a nonexistent mining investment project," Vinas said.
Investigators found mineral stones in the Koreans' hotel room in Cagayan de Oro city. Police were trying to identify the three men who were with the Koreans using video from surveillance cameras in the hotel, he said.
In Seoul, the Yonhap news agency reported that the Koreans were being held by gunmen who have demanded a ransom. It quoted an unidentified South Korean Foreign Ministry official as saying that negotiations were under way to secure their release.
Korean officials were coordinating with Philippine police officials, Yonhap said.
A South Korean Foreign Ministry official told the AP in Seoul it cannot confirm the reported abductions.
Army Col. Daniel Lucero, commander of army forces in predominantly Muslim Lanao del Sur province, said he has alerted his troops to be on the lookout for the Koreans.
Muslim guerrillas and kidnap gangs are active in the impoverished Lanao region.
Foreign tourists, priests and Christian missionaries have been targeted in the southern Philippines for years by kidnap-for-ransom gangs, including the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which has a presence on southern Jolo and outlying islands.
The Abu Sayyaf, which has been listed by Washington as a terrorist group, is believed to be separately holding an American, an Indian, a Malaysian and a Japanese convert to Islam on Jolo and nearby Basilan islands.
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Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.


Updated : 2020-11-30 21:57 GMT+08:00