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Chinese, Malaysian tourists in Philippines kidnapped for ransom by police, 4 officers arrested

Four police officers assigned to the Philippine capital region have been arrested for kidnapping for ransom that victimised four foreign tourists, officials said on Wednesday.

Two of the officers on board motorcycles flagged down a luxury car carrying three Chinese and a Malaysian over the weekend, while their armed civilian cohorts handcuffed and dragged the four tourists into a van. Two of the Chinese managed to escape and notified authorities, police said.

The remaining captives were beaten by the kidnappers but freed overnight after payment of a 2.5-million-peso (US$43,100) ransom, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said. Information provided by the freed tourists and images from security cameras led to the arrest of the four police, including a police major, he said.

“I was shocked that policemen were the ones involved,” Abalos said in a news conference, where the four police were presented in handcuffs and orange detainee shirts. “This incident is a serious breach of public trust and core values of the police force.”

Police said they’re looking for at least 10 other suspects who were not police but implicated in the kidnapping.

Police said they filed criminal complaints for kidnapping, carjacking and robbery against the suspects.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte had described many members of the national police, numbering more than 230,000 nationwide, as “rotten to the core,” although he ordered them to enforce his anti-drugs crackdown that led to the killings of thousands of mostly poor suspects.

The International Criminal Court has been investigating the large-scale killings as a possible crime against humanity. Duterte and the national police chiefs who served under him had denied authorising extrajudicial killings,