MANILA — Four foreign nationals — three Chinese and one Vietnamese — were arrested by the Anti-Kidnapping Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP-AKG) for their alleged abduction and murder of a Chinese-Filipino businessman in Quezon City.

The PNP-AKG said the body of 62-year-old Mario Uy was recovered in the municipality of Tanza, Cavite province, on March 22, four days after he was kidnapped on March 18.

The suspects—Chinese nationals Bei Huimin, Jielong Shen and Sun XiaoHui, and Vietnamese Hong Puc Le—were arrested on March 23 in an operation led by the Anti-Kidnapping Group after the three Chinese suspects withdrew the ransom money at a bank in Parañaque City.

The Vietnamese national, whose bank account was used for the deposit of the P560,000 in ransom money given by the victim’s family, was captured that same day at a mall in Taguig City.

The PNP-AKG sought the assistance of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center in gathering information which helped in identifying and locating the suspects.

‘Torture marks’

“The arrest of these individuals is an important step forward in our efforts to dismantle their group and protect our communities. Rest assured that justice will spring out and we will get to the bottom of this,” PNP-AKG chief Brig. Gen. Rodolfo Castil Jr. said in a statement.

A statement dated March 25 by the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO) brought Uy’s kidnapping and murder to the public’s attention as it was circulated on social media.

The anticrime civic group was organized in 2003 in the wake of the series of abductions targeting Chinese-Filipinos during the late 1990s to the early 2000s.

According to MRPO, some “Awol (absent without official leave) police and military guns for hire” were also involved in the kidnapping of Uy, a businessman who owned and managed a hardware store at Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City.

Despite the five days of negotiations and several online and bank deposit payments made by his family, Uy was still murdered.

His body was found “with gunshot wounds and torture marks, including a big toe cut off, the same way the Pogo syndicates treat their victims,” the MRPO said, referring to Philippine offshore gaming operators.

“But Uy had never set foot in a casino nor knew anything about online gambling. He worked six and a half days a week at his store,” MRPO said.

Release ‘never intended’

Citing the PNP-AKG, the group said the kidnappers “never intended” to release the victim even after “a bit more than P1 million [was already paid] in ransom.”

The Uy family was unable to raise that amount soon. This delayed the negotiations, but it also allowed the PNP-AKG to gather more leads.

“Had they paid fast, we wouldn’t even know what happened and the criminals would have gotten off so easily,” the police unit said.