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Korean Fugitive Ja Hoon Ku: A Free Man in the Philippines

Source: ABS-CBN News

Source: ABS-CBN News

Another Korean fugitive was caught in the Philippines, but this time, it seems like he is going to get away with his crime. His name is Ja Hoon Ku. In his home country, he is wanted for embezzling nearly $200 million worth of reserve funds from a Korean company. In the Philippines, he remains a free man despite the Korean embassy’s request to summarily arrest and deport him to Korea.

On January 16, Ja was arrested and detained at the Bureau of Immigration detention center, but after his lawyers filed a petition for a writ of amparo with interim remedies, the Manila Regional Trial Court ordered his release to Philippine National Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon. The Philippine National Police was also tasked to provide protection to his family in the Philippines.

Later, he was hired as a contractor by Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), the third largest Christian religion in the Philippines, to help build the world’s largest domed arena, now known as the Philippine Arena. His being involved in the construction of the Philippine Arena has lead to a controversy.

Ja had already been arrested and was supposed to be deported to Korea, but he was granted temporary freedom. Thanks to a Palace official who allegedly signed an order to release him from detention. As stated in the order, Ja will be free while he waits for the court’s decision on his appeal regarding his deportation case. As if this was not questionable enough, Ja was turned over to members of Iglesia ni Cristo. Many Filipino citizens are not only criticizing the government for freeing the Korean fugitive and preventing (or delaying) his deportation but some are also vilifying the INC for harboring an accused wanted embezzler.

 


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Riders-in-tandem: The Philippines’ New Evil

You have probably heard of them in the news, the Philippines’ latest “collection” of vicious miscreants riding on motorcycles. Their criminal activities know no boundaries: holdup, kidnapping, targeted killing, rape.

Although news about organized crime groups using motorcycles as get-away vehicles is nothing new, the alarming increase of crimes committed by the flagrant riding-in-tandem (RIT) syndicate has stirred panic among Filipinos and prompted calls for the reimposition of death penalty.

Senator Tito Sotto III files  Senate Bill 2080, an act imposing death penalty in the Philippines”

Senator Tito Sotto III files Senate Bill 2080, an act reimposing death penalty for heinous crimes in the Philippines (Source: tenminutes.ph)

Just this month, a woman, identified as Elma Guevarra, and her driver, Edgar Carpio, were killed in an ambush along Friendship Highway, Angeles City, Pampanga. According to witnesses, two men on board a motorcycle fired their guns at Guevarra’s black Toyota Vios, killing the victims on the spot and wounding another passenger, Guevarra’s daughter, Monica. In July, a businessman known as Bernard Chan was held up at gunpoint in Barangay Dolores, San Fernando, Pampanga. Chan was about to board his Toyota Innova when three armed men surrounded him. The suspects took the victim’s bag containing checks and cash worth 750,000 pesos.

In the CCTV footage shown below, a female employee, who was bringing a payment center’s collection, was bushwhacked by motorcycle-riding thieves:

In Malasiqui, Pangasinan, a woman named Rose Marie Bulatao, who was merely sweeping outside her home, was gunned down by riders whose faces were fully concealed, making the task of identifying the perpetrators more onerous for the police. In Villasis, Pangasinan, Jesus Presto and Christopher Evangelista were waiting for a bus going to Manila to sell vegetables when two riders came and started shooting them. Presto died of a gunshot wound to the chest, while Evangelista survived the ordeal.

Last month, a municipal councilor was killed by riders-in-tandem in Ubay, Bohol. The victim, Councilor Alan Abad, was shot seven times at point-blank range.

In a campsite in Taytay, Rizal, four riders-in-tandem opened fire, killing Atty. Rodolfo Felicio and injuring two others. Felicio was in charge of the land dispute cases concerning a well-to-do family in Taytay.

Below are CCTV footages of riders-in-tandem “terrorizing” citizens:

Earlier this year, international car racing champion, Ferdinand ‘Enzo’ Pastor, was murdered by motorcycle-riding men in Quezon City. Pastor and his assistant, Paulo Salazar, were on their way to Clark for the Asian V-8 Championship when they were assaulted. The athlete died on the spot, while Salazar was rushed to the hospital. Investigations lead to a love triangle as a possible motive for Pastor’s murder. His wife, Dalia, is one of the suspects.

 

Pastor eas transporting a race car from Batangas to Pampanga, and had stopped at a traffic light when the gunman took his life. (Source: Manila Bulletin)

Pastor was transporting a race car from Batangas to Pampanga, and had stopped at a traffic light when the gunman took his life. (Source: Manila Bulletin)

Some unfortunate foreigners have also been victimized by the conscienceless riders-in-tandem. In February, an Australian pastor, Michael Rosendale, was robbed and fatally shot in Makati City. On the same month, a 65-year-old South Korean tourist, Heo Tae Suk, who was walking back to his hotel in Angeles City, was slain. The incident happened a month after another Korean, who was withdrawing money from the bank, was shot and wounded  in the same city. The riders took 20,000 US dollars from him. These are just two of a series of crimes that have been committed against Koreans living in the Philippines, many of which were shootings carried out by gunmen on motorcycles.

An Indian national was held up by riders-in-tandem in Mandaluyong (Source: interaksyon.com)

An Indian national was held up by riders-in-tandem in Mandaluyong (Source: interaksyon.com)

According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the riding-in-tandem syndicate has committed over 3,000 crimes in 2013.  Although the PNP and the Philippine government are exhausting efforts to de-escalate the crimes, their attempts seem to be futile. Riders-in-tandem are no longer lurking in the shadows, they ruthlessly carry out their malefactions in broad daylight. Some of the hooligans even have the gall to show their faces to their victims. They don’t choose targets anymore. Their victims can be anybody: an innocent bystander, a vendor, a student

I am constantly reminded by my family to be careful when I am outside. One of my family members has witnessed a crime just outside our subdivision. A woman was shot by riders while she was driving her car on her way home. For a hundred thousand pesos or maybe more, another life was taken away by lowlife scums who have no place in this world but hell.