Chinese national, tortured, forced to work for online scam business, rescued in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A Chinese national, who was allegedly tortured and forced to work in an online scam business, was rescued by authorities after being detained for around two weeks inside a hub used for illegal activities.
Bienvenido Panican, executive officer for operation of National Bureau of Investigation-Cebu District Office (NBI-CEBDO), told reporters in a press conference that the victim was successfully rescued on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.
Panican said that the rescue operation stemmed from a complaint made by a woman from Mandaue City who came to their office to report an alleged illegal detainment.
How the rescue of Chinese national started
The woman reported that her partner, a Chinese National, was being abused and forced to work by his employers in an online shopping business.
In response to this, Panican said that they immediately conducted a case build-up and gathered more evidence to determine the situation.
He said that through a surveillance operation and with the help of the complainant, they were eventually able to pinpoint the location of the victim inside an exclusive subdivision in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City.
Rescue operation conducted
A rescue operation was then conducted by their agents at around midnight on Tuesday, September 19.
Panican said that the agents rescued the missing man and nine other employees, who were all sitting in front of a computer set-up and allegedly forced to work there.
Upon seeing that the visitors were members of law enforcement, the man immediately ran to the personnel overjoyed about being rescued, said Panican.
Why Chinese national was detained by employer
Initial investigation by the NBI-Cebdo team showed that the victim was kept locked up because he did not follow the instructions of his employer.“Parang gusto niya nang umalis sa trabaho niya, pero he was not allowed to leave. Kaya siya dinetain at pinagtrabaho nang against his will,” he said.
(It seemed that he really wanted to leave his work, but he was not allowed to leave. So he was detained and forced to work.)
Aside from being detained, the victim was also allegedly subjected to physical abuse.
“Ang ginawa nila sa biktima ay talagang tinorture nila ng husto. Makikita sa mga injuries na nasustain ng biktima. Grabe ang ginawa nila. Pinaso, kinuryente, pinalo — ganun ang nangyari,” he said.
(What they did to the victim is they really tortured him. You can see the injuries the victim sustained. What they did was really horrible. They burned him, electrocuted him, hit him — that was what happened to him.)
The victim, who has been working in the company for six months, was detained since September 5.
Chinese national asked for help
His live-in partner told reporters that she began to worry when he did not come home on September 5 and weeks after that.
She said that days after he did not come home for the first time, she still received messages assuring her that he was safe.
However, she received a message from him weeks later asking for help to be rescued, which prompted her to report to the authorities.
NBI-CEBDO operatives arrested during the operation two persons accused of being involved in the crime.
Panican identified the alleged suspects as Chinese national Jia-Ming Jhang, and a Filipino, Ian Naces.
Manager, driver nabbed
Jhang is allegedly the manager of the company while Naces is the company driver.Naces, however, told reporters that he was working as a driver for one of the employees of the company and that he had no knowledge of the alleged illegal activities.
Both arrested persons are in the custody of the authorities while waiting for the filing of appropriate charges against them.
According to Panican, they both will be facing charges of serious illegal detention.
Naces, however, will have additional charges of illegal possession of firearms and violation of the gun ban law. This was after operatives recovered from his possession a .45 caliber pistol.
Victim, partner to file case against suspects
The woman told reporters that they were determined to file the case against the individuals responsible for the crime.
Panican said that they would continue to conduct an investigation to identify and arrest the operator of the illegal business that scams customers to buying products online that were never delivered.
“Nakita na maliit lang ang sindikato pero malaki ang kita, parang ganoon. Kasi bawat employee, binibigyan ng quota like two million pesos per month. Kailangan kumita ka ng two million pesos sa isang buwan. Paghindi mo nameet yung quota mo, dun nagaganap yung abuses,” he said.
(It can be seen that the syndicate is only small, but they were making a lot of money. Because each employee, they were given a quoto of like two million pesos per month. You need to earn two million pesos in one month. If you cannot meet your quota, then that is where the abuses will happen.)
He said that the company would target Chinese nationals from outside the country.
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