July 20 (UPI) -- Police in the Philippines on Thursday announced the arrests of 43 suspects accused of kidnapping foreign tourists at Manila casinos.
The suspects are allegedly members of two gangs responsible for a recent wave of kidnappings and loan shark activities.
The suspects were arrested during the search for a Singapore woman, 48-year-old Wu Yan, who was abducted by four people from a Manila casino on Monday.
Wu was taken to a building in nearby Paranaque City, beaten and forced to make a video pleading for her family to send $180,000 for her release. Police rescued her on Tuesday.
The Philippine National Police's Anti-Kidnapping Group said two of the suspects are Malaysian and 41 are Chinese nationals, all aged between 25 and 35 and could face life sentences if convicted.
Ronald de la Rosa, the national police chief, said at least two other recent kidnappings can be traced to the same group that abducted Wu. One involved a Chinese citizen in June, who paid over $44,000 in ransom, and another targeted a Hong Kong woman who escaped earlier this month.
Nearly two dozen kidnappings occurred in the Philippines last year, police said.