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(2nd LD) S. Korean man abducted for ransom last year murdered by Philippine policemen

All News 15:47 January 17, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in paras 3, 8-12)

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean man who was kidnapped for ransom in the Philippines last year was recently found to have been killed by three local police officers and a former policeman, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The law enforcement officers and ex-policeman were behind the abduction of the 50-something businessman, surnamed Ji, on Oct. 18 in Angeles City, a ministry official said, quoting probe results conducted by Filipino authorities and provided to Seoul on Monday.

According to the local investigation, Ji was strangled to death on the same day of his abduction, although the local police have not been able to examine the victim's body, which was cremated at a crematorium operated by the former police officer.

The suspects took him in a vehicle owned by the wife of one of the officers under the pretext of a drug-related investigation, the ministry official said. They used a forged arrest warrant to kidnap Ji, he said.

Four more people, including Ji's housekeeper, were also believed to be implicated in the abduction, according to the ministry official.

About two weeks after the abduction, Ji's family paid 5 million Philippine pesos (US$100,000) as a ransom after getting a phone call from the kidnappers. The kidnappers also withdrew cash from Ji's credit cards.

Active in the labor export business in the Philippines, Ji had been acquainted with the suspects.

Later in the day, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se discussed the issue with Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay by phone.

The Philippine minister expressed his deep concerns over the murder case and pledged a thorough investigation and punishment for those involved, the ministry said.

"With over 1 million South Koreans visiting the Philippine every year, (the case) poses concerns to the safety of South Koreans in the country," ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck quoted Yun as saying. The minister also asked Manila to pay close attention to the safety of South Korean travelers as well as implementing tighter security measures.

South Korea's Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-shin was also to meet with Yasay to deliver similar messages.

"South Korea is now urging the Philippine government for a thorough investigation into the case," another ministry official said, also indicating that Seoul may take action to demand the Philippine government provide compensation for the crime since it was committed by government employees.


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