Questions still lingering over the Makati kidnapping incident

December 11, 2019 - 8:26 PM
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Crime scene tape
Police are still investigating the kidnapping incident in Makati City. (Yumi Kimura/CC-BY via Wikimedia Commons)

A video of a kidnapping incident late Monday night in Makati City unsettled Filipinos on social media.

In their investigation, Makati City Police said documents were recovered at the scene of the crime which occurred in the morning of Tuesday, December 10.

However, police observations ran counter to what was indicated in the video and the time the video was first shared.

Filipino vlogger Kerwin King tweeted that he witnessed a girl being “dragged” by two guys inside a van. It was at 9 pm on December 9.

“I just witnessed a kidnapping incident while walking in Makati (near Greenbelt 1). A girl was dragged by 2 guys inside a van. I still can’t move,” he said.

Later that night, he posted a video of it in the thread.

The video came from another Twitter user @MiguelPoblador who posted it at 11 p.m. However, this user commented that he was not the one who captured it.

“The video was sent to me by my boyfriend who works near the area. Several people have also posted the video, others are saying they saw it first-hand. From what I know, the plate number was captured and the police have been called. That’s all I know,” the user said.

In the blurry video, a woman could be heard screaming for help as she tried to pull herself out from a white or gray vehicle, which was parked at first.

When other people tried to stop her abductors, the vehicle immediately sped away with the door still open.

Inconsistencies

What the police said

Based on reports, Col. Rogelio Simon, head of Makati City police, said that the victim appeared to know her abductors. Simon noted that the event also took place at 1:30 a.m. on December 10.

Cops also also recovered an envelope from the scene. It was filled with several documents, including deeds of sale of vehicles and photocopies of Chinese passports. Photos of these were shared by an ABS-CBN reporter on Twitter.

Simon then identified the victim and the kidnappers to be Chinese nationals.

“Based din sa lahat ng investigations natin at saka interview natin, the victim na pinipilit ipasok sa van is Chinese, babaeng Chinese, ang assessment namin tinatago rin ang kanyang identity kasi naka-face mask din para hindi siya makilala,” Simon said.

The victim, Zhou Mei, was an employee of a Philippine offshore gaming operations company, or POGO. The vehicle was also a gray Kia Carnival with the plate number LSA 880.

What social media argues   

Social media recalled that neither envelope nor documents fell from the vehicle in the video.

“Did they forget that video footage of the kidnapping exists and there was literally no sign of an envelope in said video?” one Twitter user said.

Some were questions raised about the authenticity of the documents presented.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun, meanwhile, questioned the police’s handling of evidence.

“Why is it handled without gloves? What’s the point releasing the documents’ contents to the public?” Fortun asked.

Twitterverse also noticed that the time established by the police was also different from when the video started circulating. A media outfit also broke story at 12 a.m.

As of publication, no witnesses have yet confirmed that an envelope did fall from the vehicle.

Safety reminders

Stories of kidnapping incidents were rife on social media following the disappearances of nine residents in Pasay City last November.

Some Filipinos took the time to share safety tips and reminders on Facebook and Twitter such as setting up emergency phone signals, staying in groups and being familiar with emergency hotlines.