A Taiwanese man who was kidnapped in the Philippines, allegedly over a debt-related dispute, was rescued by local police on New Year's Eve, according to the Philippine National Police-Anti Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG).
The rescue operation was launched after the police received information from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines, Taiwan's de facto embassy in the Southeast Asian country, on Dec. 30, that a 26-year-old Taiwanese national, surnamed Chen, was kidnapped in Parañaque City, Metropolitan Manila. In a news release on Jan. 2, PNP-AKG said it was unable to find Chen in the city but later tracked where the kidnappers had taken him to an address in Imus, a city in the country's coastal province of Cavite, Thursday.
The police did not disclose how they located Chen, who is now receiving treatment after suffering a severe beating at the hands of his kidnappers.
The abductors have been identified as two Chinese nationals who demanded a ransom of 9 million pesos (US$187,130), the police noted, adding that two suspects have been arrested as part of the ongoing investigation.
TECO Philippines told CNA that the victim's mother contacted the office on Dec. 30, 2020, requesting assistance after he called on Dec. 27 to tell her he had been kidnapped. According to Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau, Chen, who worked for a gambling company in the Philippines, was kidnapped by two of his Chinese colleagues over an alleged debt.
The abductors sent Chen's mother a clip of him being beaten and demanded the ransom to secure his release, TECO in the Philippines said.
From 2018 to the end of 2020, a total of 33 Philippines-based Taiwanese who were kidnapped or held against their will over debts, gambling-related disputes, or inability to pay high-interest loans have sought help from TECO in the country, official data shows.