Manila, Oct. 5 (CNA) Taiwan and the Philippines have worked together to bust a transgender kidnapping group based in Metro Manila, which trapped foreign nationals with the promise of dates with women, Taiwan’s representative office in the Philippines said Wednesday.
The police have arrested five alleged members of the crime ring known as “Warla,” seized four guns, and launched a manhunt for four other members after rescuing a Taiwanese victim on Sept. 7, according to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines.
The group set up the victim on a date and abducted him in a bar in Parañaque on Sept. 3 before demanding 500,000 Philippine pesos (US$8,507) from his family members in exchange for his freedom, the office said in a statement.
The office said it helped the family pay 310,000 pesos and worked with Philippine authorities to bust the group.
Warla, whose members are all transgender people, has been operating since 2018 in the Metro Manila area — including in the cities of Parañaque, Pasay, Taguig and Makati — according to the office.
The group has mainly targeted Asian nationals through dating apps and victimized 14 people to date while collecting a total of 5 million pesos in ransom, the office said.
Warla, which is also involved in selling illegal weapons, used the money for members’ sex reassignment surgeries, it said.
(By Chen Yen-chun and Lee Hsin-Yin)
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