Tip leads to arrest of seven alleged kidnappers in Laguna

By Marlon Ramos
Last updated 07:59pm (Mla time) 07/25/2007

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna, Philippines — Seven suspected members of a kidnap syndicate were arrested after a brief chase with policemen in Victoria, Laguna on Tuesday afternoon, police said Wednesday.


Senior Superintendent Felipe Rojas, Laguna police director, said the arrested men belonged to the Asuncion gang, a splinter group of the Egay Alvarez kidnap syndicate.


Rojas claimed the group is known to prey on businessmen and foreign nationals in Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Quezon and Metro Manila.

Arrested were Arnel Nicopior, 34; Wilfredo Lagrama, 50; Melbert Rafor, 28; Teddy Ribot, 36; Danilo Bandoy, 46; Rommel Asuncion, 21; and Rodel Asuncion y Inovero, 26.


Two other gang members, identified only as a certain Larry and Efren, eluded arresting police officers.


Rojas said police received a tip that the group was in the area to abduct a wealthy businesswoman from Los Baños town.


He said that before the suspects attempted to kidnap the lady trader, they stole a Nissan Urvan (XFS 461) from driver Norwin Cedillo in the village of Batong Malake, Los Baños.


Rojas said Cedillo immediately alerted the local police who quickly set up a checkpoint along the national highway in Los Baños.


Upon reaching the area at around 4 p.m., the suspects avoided the checkpoint, prompting the policemen, led by Superintendent Mafelino Bazar, intelligence chief of the Laguna police, to chase them.


The policemen eventually caught the suspects in a grassy area in the village of San Francisco in Victoria town at around 5:30 p.m.


“The suspects did not resist [nor fired a shot] at my men because they knew they were overpowered,” Rojas said.


Rojas said they confiscated .22 cal. Magnum pistol, a 45 cal. pistol, one homemade 12-gauge shotgun, a fragmentation grenade, and personal belongings of the suspects.


Police also recovered the carjacked vehicle and another Hyundai Grace van (XDV 833) from the suspects.


Rojas said before abducting their subjects, the arrested men were known to identify themselves as policemen.


He said just last month, the suspects seized a Pakistani national in Makati City. They eventually released the foreigner after a still undetermined ransom was paid.


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