Manhunt on for cop linked to kidnapping of Korean businessman

MANILA, Philippines - Several police units have been ordered to conduct manhunt operations against a fellow cop linked to the kidnapping of a South Korean businessman in Angeles City last year.

In a press statement on Wednesday, January 11, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said its chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, also asked the justice department to assigne a special prosecutor to handle the kidnapping case.

South Korean national Jee Ick-joo, 53, was taken from his home on October 18. He has yet to be located since.

Police earlier identified the suspects through security camera footage taken during the kidnapping.

Dela Rosa's orders came after Jee's wife and Korean embassy officials personally sought his help. The police said the Anti-Kidnapping Group and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group have both been tapped to look for the cop.

The Anti-Illegal Drugs Group, which the suspect was once part of, has also been tasked to conduct manhunt operations.

The policeman, whom the police did not name, was reassigned to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit of Camp Crame almost a month after Jee went missing. 

Jee's wife had previously said her husband's abductors demanded a P5 million ransom which they paid. They are asking for another P4.5 million. An earlier Inquirer report said the cop supposedly used the police's anti-illegal drugs campaign as a cover in the kidnap. (READ: Philippine cop held over 'kidnapped' South Korean)

Since President Rodrigo Duterte came into power, Philippine police have been leading a popular but controversial war on drugs.

Over 6,000 deaths – over 2,000 attributed to police operations – have been linked in the crackdown on illegal drugs. The rest of the deaths are what police call "deaths under investigation" or summary style executions with suspected links to illegal drugs.

Police have been accused of resorting to extrajudicial means in the name of the drugs war. It's a claim Dela Rosa vehemently denies.

A war on drugs was among Duterte's key campaign promises during the 2016 elections. –