‘Korean crime cases won’t affect Cebu tourism’

Posted on November 4, 2012

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WITH a foiled kidnapping and car ambush of Korean businessmen happening within a week, some Cebu tourism private stakeholders were still optimistic this would not affect the province’s appeal as a designation of leisure and investments.

Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu president Hans Hauri and National Association of Independent Travel Agencies chairman emeritus Consul Robert Lim Joseph said it’s better to assist the police than engage in speculation over the cases.

Lapu-Lapu city police are set to file frustrated murder charges on Monday against a Korean businessman as the alleged mastermind and two local cohorts for the Oct. 31 shooting attack on two fellow Korean nationals outside the Pacific Villa subdivision in Lapu-Lapu City.

Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, Lapu-Lapu City police chief, called on the Korean community to assist them in locating the perpetrators.

He said they’ve asked aid from the Police Regional Office (PRO-7) in their investigation.

Lawas said he’s calling on other South Korean victims of extortion to coordinate with the police to see if the alleged mastermind in last Wednesday’s ambush is victimizing them as well.

He said police received complaints from Koreans that the suspect would pressured them to accept his service as “protection” since he had connections with government agencies.

The ambush victims Lee Dong Gun, 46, and Jung Ha bok, 40, who survived with graze wounds in their arms said they had rejected the business proposal, which may have triggered the attack.

Lawas said the Korean mastermind was a money lender would would harasses clients if they failed to settle their debts.

On Oct. 24, businessman Jun Hyung Chung and his girlfriend were kidnapped in Cebu City with a P600,000 ransom for their release. They were rescued by police who filed charges against a Korean businessman and two local cohorts who pretended to be policemen.

“We regret to hear of such an incident…We don’t want to preempt the ongoing investigation by making assumptions of any kind. I have full trust that the case is isolated and will not affect the strong flow of tourists from Korea,” said Hauri, country manager of the Marco Polo Plaza.

Joseph of NAITAS, meanwhile, said he believes this is an issue within the Korean community which is also happening in Manila.

“What we need to do is to capture the perpetrators to stop these incidents,” said Joseph, adding that the incidents were business-related.

Plantation Bay Resort and Spa general manager Efren Belarmino agreed with Joseph that local stakeholders should coordinate with the Korean government and ask for their help to address these issues.

“We cannot do it ourselves. It’s also an issue of the Korean government so we should ask help from them,” said Belarmino.

Islands Group president Jay Aldeguer said the local community should pitch in since Cebu has a stake in protecting the Korean community.

“Cebu is a safe place, yet open to opportunists of the sinister characters. Let’s keep our attractive island safe through networks and collaborative minds among its citizens,” Hauri said. /Aileen Garcia-Yap and Norman V. Mendoza

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