MANILA, Philippines- The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) announced this Tuesday that eight suspected members of the “Warla” kidnapping group that lures foreigners to “date” women have been arrested.
“The kidnapping group composed of particularly transwomen and their partners or we call them as the Warla criminal group. They have gained notoriety for posing as beautiful women before kidnapping their targets as soon as they agreed to meet them on a date,” sabi ni CIDG chief Police Brigadier General Ronald Lee sa isang press conference.
Lee added that a group of foreigners, particularly Asian nationals, have been victimizing since 2018. Some of the victims are POGO employees, while some are businessmen.
One of the victims of the Warla kidnapping group was identified as Taiwanese national Michael Lee, who was abducted in Parañaque on September 3 and rescued by authorities on September 7.
According to the CIDG, the suspects demanded money from Michael Lee’s friends in exchange for his freedom. The victim’s friends were able to send P308,000 to five different mobile wallet accounts.
The police traced the payment transactions and identified the suspects, three of whom – Dewie Shaine Collado Garcia, Charlemagne Olunan Vargas, and Christian Paredes – surrendered to the authorities.
Meanwhile, five of the suspects- Jun Francis Pavillar Villa, Lawrence Descartin Lingo, Jonas Grimpula Belonio, Bernard Ty Torres, and Mark Joseph Dagame Pelonio – were arrested in entrapment operations for illegal weapons.
The Warla kidnapping group was formed in 2018. Nine of its identified members are transgender women, according to the CIDG. It is headed by one Mikey Ebol or Mike Collado Ebol, according to the police.
Operating anf Warla in the southern part of Metro Manila.
The CIDG said the group has already victimized 14 people and collected P4.2 million in ransom money.
The arrested suspects allegedly said that the money was being used for their sex reassignment surgery in Thailand.
Manhunt operations continue to capture Ebol and other Warla members identified as Lexi Villanueva, Jaine Martinez, Hector Magallanes or “Yanyan”, Erwin Flores or “Marga”, and Mathew San Diego, according to the CIDG.
The arrested individuals will face charges of kidnapping and violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Law. RNT/SA
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