The South Korean murdered by rogue anti-drug police was driven to Manila before being strangled inside Camp Crame, the nation’s police headquarters.
It has been reported that the businessman was killed in an SUV parked just yards from the office of police chief Ronald dela Rosa, who has spoken of his “shame” and “fury” today (Thursday, January 19).
As we have previously reported (here) the murdered businessman was abducted from his Angeles home by anti-drug officers with a fake arrest warrant. After his death, his body was disposed of at a crematorium owned a member of the police force. Despite his death, the rogue officers continued to demand ransom money from the man’s widow.
National police chief Ronald dela Rosa — who was present at Camp Crame at the time of the murder — has spoken of his deep shame.
“I want to disappear from this world because of so much shame after what my men did,” he said. “I am very sorry that this crime happened and my own men are involved. I want to kill those policemen who are into crime syndicates but I cannot do it. That’s illegal.”
Dela Rosa, a close confidant of President Duterte and enthusiastic participant in the war on drugs, said he was “very angry” and “very offended” after learning the crime had taken place under his nose at the home of the national police.
The Korean’s death is just the latest setback for police, who have been drawing heavy criticism from human rights groups over cover-ups and abuses of police power. Police deny involvement in extrajudicial killings and say any deaths in the course of the anti-drugs campaign are in self-defence.
A report in The Inquirer (here) describes how the head of Mr Ji was covered with a packaging tape before he was strangled inside Camp Crame, just yards from dela Rosa’s office in The White House. The body was then accepted by crematorium in exchange for 30,000 pesos and a golf set.
This latest case of police abuse has led critics to question whether the war on drugs is still under control.
Dela Rosa insists that it is. “That was not part of the drug war. The term ‘TokHang for ransom’, they’re just using that to ruin the war on drugs. TokHang is very, very effective and it has led to the surrender and accounting of 1.3 million drug personalities,” he said.
Under the ‘TokHang’ operation, police go from door-to-door, convincing drug users and dealers to surrender. Police claim more than one million people have “surrendered” as a result of the operation, despite the lack of arrest warrants.
Senator Antonio Trillanes said the president’s campaign against drugs had created a culture of impunity within the police force. “We’re creating monsters out of some elements of the Philippines National Police,” he said.
However, dela Rosa today clarified that Duterte’s assurance of legal protection for police officers accused of wrongdoing as part of the drugs campaign would not apply to erring officers.
South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said the case “poses concerns to the safety of South Koreans” in the Philippines. More than one million South Koreans visit the Philippines every year. Nearly 50 have been killed in the country since 2012.
Mr Ji was a senior executive with Hanjin Heavy Industries, which had just helped the Philippines pass an industrial milestone with the construction of the country’s first VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) at it’s shipyard in Subic Bay. The company and declined to comment on Mr Ji’s death.