CEBU CITY — Four Chinese nationals suspected of being members of a kidnap-for-ransom group were killed in an alleged shootout with police Monday night in Lapu-Lapu City.
The shooting took place as police attempted to rescue a 70-year-old Chinese national from an exclusive subdivision of Barangay Bangkal, Lapu-Lapu.
The Anti-Kidnapping Group-Visayas (AKG-VFU) Field Unit has yet to release the names of the Chinese nationals killed pending further investigation.
AKG-VFU team leader Lt. Zosimo Ravanes Jr. said the slain foreigners were behind the kidnapping of their 70-year-old countryman.
Ravanes said Lyu Xingou, from Fujian, China, was abducted at 8 a.m. on May 25 from his home in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.
The victim, a businessman, was about to leave his home to go to work when a Chinese-speaking man pointed a gun at him.
The victim was dragged from the house and forced into a vehicle.
The incident was reported to Mabolo Police Station, which then coordinated with the AKG-VFU.
“We reviewed security camera footage of the victim’s house and any roads the vehicle might have passed that led us to Lapu-Lapu,” Ravanes said.
Ravanes said he later discovered that a group of Chinese nationals were renting a house in Aldea del Sol subdivision in Barangay Bangkal, Lapu-Lapu town.
Ravanes said the kidnappers demanded 1,000,000,000 RMB from the victim’s son who was in China at the time of the kidnapping.
Prior to the rescue operation, the victim’s family had paid 500,000 RMB to his captors.
The original ransom amount was paid via WeChat number 0915 6676595.
It is thanks to this number that AKG-VFU was able to locate the group’s refuge.
Ravanes added that while they were conducting surveillance in the area, they came across a Chinese-looking individual, who was seen going in and out of the house that police were watching closely.
It was around 10 p.m. on Monday when a rescue operation was launched. Besides AKG-VFU, officers from Regional Intelligence Division-7, Regional Special Operations Group-7, Special Weapons and Tactics-Lapu-Lapu City and Highway Patrol Group also took part in the rescue operation.
Ravanes said that when rescue teams stormed the house, shots were fired at them, which triggered a shootout.
“The exchange of gunfire lasted a few minutes. These people were really determined to fight,” Ravanes said.
Ravanes added that a police officer was shot in the chest but was saved thanks to the bulletproof vest he was wearing.
Various firearms were recovered from the suspects, believed to be .45 caliber pistols and 9mm pistols.
Monday’s incident came more than three weeks after two Chinese nationals were arrested for kidnapping their compatriot in Barangay Mactan.
Rong Tong Xue and Gou Min Li were arrested on March 7 at a house in Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu, where their captive, Li Hong Yu, was also rescued.
“We will check if these two incidents are related,” Ravanes said.
Ravanes described the two incidents as “isolated incidents”.
“I think this kind of incident is not prevalent in Cebu. The suspects belonged to a kidnap-for-ransom group whose leaders are based in Manila,” Ravanes said.
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