A Chinese man said two of his compatriots held him up at gunpoint last Friday (Oct. 27), taking away P2.37 million in cash. The two men, he said, had offered to sell him a cheaper condominium unit in Pasay.
Through an interpreter, Fugui Lai, a 28-year-old native of Quanzhou, told police that he was held up by a Chinese “friend,” which he only identified as Tony, and his unknown cohort inside a unit of the Shell Residences on Sunrise Drive of SM Mall of Asia Complex on Friday afternoon.
According to a report by case investigator SPO1 Rodolfo Suquiña Jr., Lai met Tony through Chinese social media WeChat. Tony offered to sell him a Shell condo unit “in good quality but at a cheaper price” of P4.74 million.
Prices of Shell units range from P2.5 million for 23 square meters to P38 million for 200 square meters and above.
Lai was told he would need to personally see the unit and bring with half of the payment as down in case he would be interested in buying it.
Carrying P2.37 million in cash in his sling bag, the victim went alone to Unit 1536 of Shell Residences Tower D at 4:25 p.m.
Lai said Tony opened the door. Once he was inside, the suspects declared a holdup and pointed their guns at his back.
The suspects wrapped his face with packaging tape, leaving only an opening for his nose for breathing. They also handcuffed him and wrapped his hands and feet with packaging tape.
Minutes later, they put him inside a room. Lai said he felt his cuffs being unlocked, and then he heard door being closed.
Lai told police he was able to free himself because the packaging tapes were loosely wrapped. He also learned that his sling bag containing millions of cash was taken away by the suspects.
He went to the security at the lobby, and called his interpreter as he could not speak Filipino.
Suquiña said Victor Alisoso Jr., assistant security officer of Shell, has already given photos of the suspects caught on closed-circuit cameras and were positively identified by Lai.
Chief Insp. Rogelio Hernandez, chief investigator of the Pasay City Police Station, said they were still verifying Lai’s claim.
“We were checking whether he was telling the truth or not,” Hernandez said. “We have encountered many instances of foreign nationals who were playing the ‘kidnap me’ scheme.”
“Kidnap me” is a term used by police in referring to a fake kidnapping staged by the alleged victim himself.
According to the Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group, 11 out of 25 kidnapping cases reported to it January to September 2015 were “kidnap me” cases.
Hernandez said they already had the name of the owner of Unit 1536 of Shell Residences Tower D, but “could not divulge it as not to compromise their investigation.” /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.