POLICE yesterday arrested 33 armed security guards who invaded the disputed Mactan Isla Hotel and Casino in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.
The armed guards disarmed their rival security personnel who were then on duty, a Police Regional Office 7 report said.
PRO7 director Chief Supt. Debold Sinas said that local policemen rushed to the hotel at 3:30 a.m. yesterday after receiving a report about the shooting incident.
During questioning, the hotel chief security, Juvani Gonza Vallosa of the Blue Breed Security Agency, said they were manning their respective posts at the hotel when several loaded vans entered the entrance gate.
Immediately after, the occupants of the vans, who were wearing black shirts and were armed with short and long firearms, disarmed the duty guards and took over the security of the hotel and casino.
Sinas said that a short burst of gunfire was heard in the hotel, which resulted in the wounding of one of the invading guards identified as Albert Elola, 61.
Elola was taken to the Mactan Doctors Hospital for treatment.
The official said the first group of policemen who responded to the scene recovered spent 9mm cartridges scattered near the gate of the hotel.
Sinas said the armed men who took over the property barred the policemen from entering the compound and denied the shooting incident while refusing to give their names.
The Lapu-Lapu City Police director ordered the arrest and disarming of the invaders. The guards will be subjected to a paraffin test to determine who among them fired their guns.
The confiscated weapons composed of six cal. .38 revolvers, four 9mm semi-automatic pistols, one cal. .45 pistol, six 12-gauge shotguns and one 9mm sub-machine gun will also be subjected to a ballistics examination.
The firearms of the Blue Breed Security Agency personnel consisting of two cal. .38 revolvers, one cal. .45 pistol and one 9mm pistol were also confiscated by the local police.
Sinas said that the suspects who invaded the hotel were led by Nelson Salcedo of the Proceeds Security Agency.
Salcedo told investigators they were hired by Korean national Bongsoo Park to take over the security of the hotel. According to him, Park told them that he is one of the real owners of the hotel.
Reports that said two groups of rival Korean businessmen have claimed ownership of the hotel and casino. Sinas said they have found out that the security guards who invaded the establishment were hired by the group of the Koreans and their local partners who lost their rights over the establishment following a court battle and who decided to forcibly take over the management of the establishment.