On September 12 a 18-year-old chinese Li Peizhi, was seized by unidentified gunmen in the town of Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay province in strife-torn Southern Philippines. The kidnappers could be the same group who had kidnapped Australian Richard Rodwell in 2011.
From January to August this year, there were 33 incidents of kidnapping across the country 17 of them Filipino-Chinese.
On September 11, a midwife, Leilani Bernabe was freed. She was kidnapped on August 28 on her way to Luuk District Hospital when she was seized by a group of men in the village called Lihbug Kabaw near Panglima Estino town, Sulu Island, on Thursday morning
The abduction occurred a day after Abu Sayyaf militants freed a kidnapped mechanic Ronald Pelegrin, 39, who works for the provincial government.
Pelegrin, a native of Zamboanga city, was kidnapped on August 16. 30 armed men kidnapped Pelegrin, but his assistant Dante Avilla, 29, was killed while trying to escape.
Kidnapping for ransom has become common over the past three decades , with small-scale “freelance” kidnappers aiming to make money. Kidnappings in the Philippines nearly doubled in 2013—and there were more than 20 kidnap-for-ransom cases alone, based on media reports and government figures.
Pirates trolling the Sulu Sea, which separates the Philippines islands from Malaysia’s Sabah region, have been the scene of numerous abductions over the last decade. Just last November, armed gunman took a Taiwanese tourist from an island just off Sabah after killing her husband. The tourist was rescued a month later.
What’s fueling the kidnapping: Criminals and separatist groups that operate in the region treat foreigners, particularly wealthy visitors from China. Abu Sayyaf, a prominent militant Islamist group has been responsible for numerous tourist abductions over the past years. Some figures suggest the group has collected over $35 million in ransom fees. It also reportedly uses kidnapping to recruit local children.
Aside Abu Sayyaf .. Pentagon, a gang active among Muslim communities on the southern island of Mindanao was blamed for a series of abductions in 2002, including two Chinese engineers working on a Japanese-funded irrigation project who were late killed.