By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) The Chinese government is growing impatient with Gov. Ralph Torres. People's Republic of China Consul General Zhang Ping in Los Angeles wrote to Mr. Torres on January 9, 2020 asking him about his administration's lack of action on the unsolved murders and disappearance of seven Chinese nationals in Saipan.
Mr. Ping told Mr. Torres the Chinese government is ready to assist U.S. law enforcement "in an effort to solve these cases as early as possible." Copied on the letter are the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of State, and the CNMI office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Five of the seven murders and disappearance occurred while Mr. Torres was either the governor or the lieutenant governor. The Chinese government has continuously brought up the lack of progress in these investigations by the Department of Public Safety throughout Mr. Torres's term in office. "Over the past few years, during each consular visit to CNMI, our consular officials have brought up the cases with the directors of DPS," Mr. Ping wrote to Mr. Torres. "However, years have passed, still no significant progress of investigation has been made."
Contrary to government reports of speculation that Chinese nationals would enter Saipan to carry out the killings of its citizens living in Saipan, Mr. Ping places the onus on Mr. Torres's administration, demanding that justice can be achieved by local investigations done properly.
"These brutal crimes have received widespread attention from the media and general public and brought tremendous pain and suffering to the victims' families in China," Mr. Ping wrote. "They have been continuously asking for justice."
Mr. Ping named each Chinese national who was brutally murdered, and the one who went missing and is believed to have been killed:
Case of Yang, Junli & Liu, Jing
Date of Case: 12/06/2012
The above two are a couple. They were cuffed and shot to death in their residence on December 6, 2012.
Case of Zheng, Qingxiu & Xu, Guohuang
Date of Case: 02/23/2014
The above two are a couple. They were burned to death in their residence on Feb. 23, 2014.
Case of Li, Hairen & Li, Chengyou
Date of Case: 11/01/2014
The above two are brothers. They were hacked to death on their farm on Nov. 1, 2014. Their bodies were burned and abandoned in a remote forest.
Case of Li, Zhiyong
Date of Case: 01/20/2015
Li was reported missing on Jan. 20, 2015 and remain unaccounted till today. Li is a relative of the above-mentioned brothers Li, Hairen & Li, Chengyou, and is believed to have been killed.
"Since the happening of these cases, the Consulate has been in constant contact with the Department of Public Safety, CNMI, expressing concerns over the safety of Chinese nationals in Saipan and asking for speedy investigations to bring justice to the victims," Mr. Ping wrote to Mr. Torres.
Mr. Ping expressed his hope that Mr. Torres personally will get to the bottom of the stalled progress of these investigations, "and direct the relevant agencies to carry out the investigations with all the necessary resources and measure."
Unsolved murders in the CNMI throughout Gov. Torres's tenure include more than just Chinese nationals, however. The murder investigation of Allan Boyer Dela Cruz still has gone nowhere. In 2019 alone, the CNMI registered 10 unsolved murders and deaths.
Recently, one Korean and one Chinese national were found murdered in Saipan.
Kandit this week reported the case of a former DPS employee, who filed criminal complaints against Commissioner Robert Guerrero regarding sexual assault, harassment, conspiracy, cover up, and other crimes to the Governor's Office and the Office of the Attorney General. Nothing has been done with these matters, which were initially investigated by former DPS commissioner James Deleon Guerrero. The murders of the Chinese nationals referred to in the Ping letter occurred during his tenure at DPS.
Mr. Deleon Guerrero was arrested in 2016 for sexually assaulting a then-15 year old girl inside a pickup truck in 2013 while he was police commissioner. Judge Joseph James Norita Camacho dismissed the case, even with Mr. Deleon Guerrero's statement acknowledging his crime.
The investigations into and prosecutions of those responsible for these murders has fallen on Attorney General Edward Manibusan during his tenure as the AG. The current legislative oversight chairman of the OAG is Mr. Manibusan's son-in-law, Congressman Joel Camacho.