Gunmen seized the daughter of a Chinese-Filipino businessman Thursday despite a warning from President Fidel Ramos of a crackdown against kidnappers targeting the ethnic minority.
Police said they had arrested four suspects in a spate of kidnappings, including an army sergeant and a former Marine lieutenant. They were arrested Thursday in a Manila suburb and confessed to seven kidnappings, 12 bank robberies and several car thefts, police said.The abductions have mostly targeted well-heeled Filipinos of Chinese descent, and the alleged involvement of police and military officials has raised concern of a possible new corruption network within the 100,000-member National Police.
Police say there are no complete figures on the abductions because victims often do not report the crimes. But Filipino-Chinese sources say at least 22 people have been seized in Manila since Aug. 4. More than 30 other Filipino-Chinese have been abducted on Mindanao Island during the past year.
Police officer Arnold Alabastro said Thursday's kidnapping occured in suburban Valenzuela. He refused to give the victim's name or further details.
The state-run Philippine News Agency said she is the daughter of a Chinese-Filipino textile mill owner and was seized on her way to school. The agency also said two other Filipino-Chinese girls were abducted Thursday in nearby Kalookan City, but police could not confirm the report.
The kidnapping occurred one day after Ramos, who was elected in May on a law and order platform, promised tough measures against kidnap gangs.
Some of the about 1 million Chinese-Filipinos have called for a general strike and formation of neighborhood watch groups.