Philippine authorities have ordered the arrest of ten policemen accused of kidnapping four South Korean tourists in a plot involving their countrymen tour guides, the Manila City government said Monday.The capital's mayor, Alfredo Lim, also ordered that the 10 be dropped from police rolls after they went into hiding on February 14, around the time the kidnapping incident occurred.
"The incident is a tremendous and serious flaw on the good name of the police department," a statement issued by Mayor Lim's office said.
The order came after a South Korean tourist guide was arrested in his home country last week for allegedly conspiring with the Filipino police officers in the abduction.
The guide, identified by Lim's office as Choi Jang Tae, arrived in Manila with 12 South Korean tourists for a four-day vacation and enticed four of them to go shopping with him last week.
As they were walking to a popular mall, the four tourists were accosted by armed men who forced them into a van, the statement from the mayor's office said.
The four were then told by their captors they would be charged with illegal possession of drugs unless they paid $30,000. Another South Korean tourist guide later facilitated the transfer of the money, the statement added.
This South Korean has since been arrested in the Philippines, the mayor's office added.
Law-enforcement officials have assured that all the policemen involved in the crime will be charged and the money they extorted will be returned to its owners.
Lim, a former Manila police chief, also ordered a revamp of Manila police anti-narcotics units to prevent further incidents.
The Philippines has long struggled with corruption and abuse among the police which has sometimes led to foreign tourists being victimised.
In 2011, five Philippine policemen were sacked after they forced a German tourist to buy laptops for them by threatening to charge him with terrorism.