VIP sticker, 888 license plate

Posted on November 2, 2012


WHY does the van driven by Korean businessmen in Thursday’s ambush attempt have a windshield sticker bearing the seal of the Office of the President?

The vehicle’s license plate is a special number combination “OSK 888”.

Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, Lapu-Lapu city police chief, said he would advise the Koreans to remove the sticker because they were not authorized to use it.

He said the victims told him they are not connected with any official in Malacanang and that the vehicle was bought last year from a friend who acquired the van from a Malacañang official whose name they didn’t know.

The vehicle was bought when the Koreans first lived in Manila and were looking for business opportunities in the country.

Lee Dong Gun, 46, one of the victims, does business with Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City, according to the resort management.

“Lee is a partner of one of our concessionaire here who we know as someone very kind and professional, and really abides by the laws of our country,” said Angela Emphasis, press relations manager of the resort.

Imperial Palace is a Korean brand resort that opened in Cebu three years ago with the status of a special economic zone granted by the Office of the President.

Emphasis said the ambush incident involving Korean nationals will not affect Cebu’s attractiveness as a tourism or investment destination for Koreans.

Emphasis said although the ambush was unfortunate, it was an isolated case that would not affect Cebu’s attractiveness as a tourist or investment destination and that resort guests don’t feel threatened.

Majority ownership has shifted to Cebuano businessman Justin Uy and the resort is developing other markets outside of Korea like Australia.

“We will diversify but still try to maintain our Korean market which still holds majority of our market pie,” said Emphasis.

As of August this year, 70 percent of Imperial Palace guests are Korean. The rest are domestic, Japanese and Russian tourists. /Reporter Aileen Garcia Yap

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