Philippine authorities have vowed to pursue those behind the death of a 27-year-old Chinese man in Manila over the weekend, after the Chinese embassy urged them to bring the perpetrators to justice and protect the interests of Chinese citizens.
The Philippine National Police spokesperson Bernard Banac told the South China Morning Post the force was closing in on the Chinese employer of the dead man, Yang Kang.
The employer is wanted on illegal detention charges, Banac said, after reports suggested Yang was being held captive over unpaid debts. He fell to his death while trying to escape on August 11 from the sixth floor of a building in Las Pinas City near Metro Manila.
Closed-circuit television footage released by the national police showed Yang peering from the window before detaching its grills and climbing out. The building's security guard found Kang's dead body. Kang had been handcuffed.
In a series of tweets, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jnr said the Philippine government would bring the killer to justice and would allow Chinese investigators into the country to help solve the crime, if local police were not able to. "That is international practice," he tweeted.
He said if the Philippines allowed Chinese nationals to be hurt, Filipino workers in the Chinese mainland - there are about 12,000 of them - would "pay".
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered an investigation into Yang's death.
It is unclear what Yang's job was but there are an estimated 138,000 Chinese nationals working in the country, according to a list held by both the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and Department of Labour and Employment. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra claimed last month there were a further 15,000 Chinese workers not included on this list.
Most of these are thought to be employed by offshore gaming operators (Pogos) and online casinos catering to Chinese nationals. Such operations are illegal in mainland China. Last week, the embassy issued a statement criticising Manila for undermining its efforts to crack down on cross-border gambling, noting that Chinese citizens being lured into illegal gambling had resulted in an increase of "crimes and social problems in China".
It also urged Manila to step up its protection of Chinese citizens, which it said were subjected to "modern slavery" after being lured into working illegally in gaming firms. The embassy said Chinese nationals had been kidnapped, tortured and even killed after working for casinos and Pogos.
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