Double-crossing kidnapper-murderer ‘James Yap’ convicted of money laundering

Executive Director Julia Baccay-Abad of AMLC testifies at a Senate hearing in this March 2016 file photo. INTERAKSYON.COM FILE

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MANILA – A double-crossing kidnapper-murderer, who used the alias “James Yap” to get money from the Japanese employer he kidnapped, was convicted of money laundering for transacting through a bank the ransom he collected.

Judge Toribio S. Quiwag of Branch 27 of the Regional Trial Court of Lapu-Lapu City convicted Alfredo Baclado (alias James Yap, Boy Dy, Lester) of money laundering under Section 4(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (Republic Act No. 9160), as amended, the AMLC said in a press announcement.

The court sentenced him to suffer imprisonment of seven to 14 years, and pay a fine of P3 million to the government.

The case stemmed from the kidnapping in January 2003 of Ryohei Sato, a Japanese national, by a fellow Japanese, Hiroshi Nagai, with the help of Baclado and four other persons, in Lapu-Lapu City. They demanded ransom of ¥6 million (equivalent to nearly P3 million) from Sato’s relatives in Tokyo.

Despite remittance of the money to Baclado’s bank account (under the name “James Yap”), Nagai killed Sato in February 2003. To keep the money to himself, Baclado murdered Nagai.

The other accused are facing kidnapping charges but remain at large.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) probed the bank transactions. Police operatives then uncovered the true identity of “James Yap”: Baclado, who was a security guard in the company where Sato worked.

Baclado/James Yap was identified through photographs in his account opening forms.

Bank records also showed that he made small ATM withdrawals; this was intended to avoid detection.

This did not prevent the AMLC from tracing the flow of funds from Sato’s daughter in Tokyo to Baclado’s bank account. Ironically, thanks to Baclado’s small withdrawals, the bulk of the ransom (P2.4 million) remained intact, and was eventually forfeited in 2006 by the AMLC in a separate civil case, and returned to Sato’s daughter.

Judge Quiwag issued a warrant for the arrest of Baclado, who failed to appear at his sentencing. His last known residence is Lapu-Lapu City. Any information on his whereabouts may be relayed, AMLC said, to (02)708-7066, or (02)708-7069, or (02)708-7701 local 3083 or 4274; or through fax at (02)708-7909. Emails may be sent to amlc@bsp.gov.ph.

The AMLC has been pursuing cases against money launderers. It has 56 cases pending before the Regional Trial Courts, the Department of Justice and the Sandiganbayan involving drug trafficking, plunder, graft and corruption.

Julia C. Bacay-Abad, Executive Director of the AMLC Secretariat, said “Baclado’s conviction serves as a strong warning to money launderers and we look forward to more convictions. We hope the AMLC gains more support in its fight against moneylaundering to stop criminals from undermining our institutions, corrupting our people and disrupting peace and order.”

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