The Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) plans to send some of its personnel to China to learn Mandarin and other Chinese languages used by Chinese nationals involved in casino-related kidnappings in the Philippines.

In a statement, Anti-Kidnapping Group Director Jonnel Estomo said the plan would speed up the post-operation judicial process on the part of the Philippine National Police, which conducts the investigation and filing of appropriate charges with the prosecution service.

“We have to ask for the assistance of some groups to send interpreters in the conduct of our investigation, especially in getting the statements from the victims, suspects and witnesses who could neither speak and understand Filipino and English languages,” Estomo said.

The AKG had to request assistance from nongovernment organizations including the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. for interpreters, he said.

Estomo said the PNP must have a team of qualified personnel who could understand and speak Chinese languages like Mandarin and Cantonese.

With the capability to speak and comprehend Mandarin and other Chinese languages, intelligence operations and case-building would be enhanced, he said.

Estomo said the number of casino-related kidnappings had reached 53 cases since 2017, where 57 tourists, almost all of them Chinese, fell victims to kidnapping.

More than 100 casino-related kidnapping suspects have been arrested and charged in courts since 2017.

The AKG attributed the increase in casino-related kidnappings to the continuous operations of Philippine offshore gaming operators or POGOs, which employs more than 200,000 Chinese. (Melo M. Acuña)