According to the accused, who “categorically denies” the allegations, “the truth will always prevail”. On the other side, the governmental bodies want him to “surrender and face the charges against him”.
Bernard Lu Chong Wanted for Alleged Drug Smuggling
The Daily Tribune reported on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) launching a so-called “manhunt” for Bernard “Bren” Lu Chong – a local Philippine app entrepreneur, and the owner of the Bren Esports team. The news about Mr. Chong being wanted by the police comes after intercepting an attempted smuggling P1.87 billion’s (US$33 million) worth of the so-called “shabu” drug (methamphetamine, better known as “meth”). The Daily Tribune reports it was 276.3 kilos of the illicit drug that was intercepted on May 31, back in 2018 in the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
Chong’s alleged involvement comes as the company accused of the smuggling – the Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation – has had him as president and general manager since June 7, 2020. According to the NBI, “Mr. Lu Chong can spare everyone the trouble if he surrenders and faces the charges against him,” international operations divisions chief Joey Moran was reported saying.
A seven-page resolution on the case, cited by Theodore Villanueva – senior deputy state prosecutor on the case – reads that “Fortuneyield paid P20,000 as container deposit” and a further “P76,807.50 as for fright”. That’s about US$1,737 in total for the shipment. It’s alleged that such tariffs would be “impossible” to be paid without the knowledge of a higher-up, such as the general manager.
According to local media, Chong’s arrest warrant is based on charges of an alleged violation of Section 4, Article 2 of Republic Act 9165. This is a non-bailable offense, as drug smuggling is taken very seriously in the Philippines. Bilyonaryo reported that the drug packets were concealed and had genuine import documents, which means that the Bureau of Customs was working in tandem with the Coast Guard to soil the attempted drug smuggling.
The Other Side of the Story
As a result of the accusations, on August 2, Bernard Chong’s Twitter page was becoming more and more active after he started a thread to “categorically deny” the allegations against him. He finished the thread by saying that he believes “in the justice system that protects the innocent, and the truth will always prevail. I hope this clarifies any doubts you have and thank you for your support during these trying times.”
His Twitter page was full of supporting tweets, with Jake Lucky even posting a video on Twitter with Chong talking about the situation and reiterating that he denies the allegations. Lucky finished off his tweet by saying that Chong’s involvement in the shipping company is “hands off”.
Others were saying that this is just “another business that he had invested in” and this time he’s simply “trusted the wrong people” and the entire discussion on his page is extremely supportive with the leitmotif that “this will certainly be resolved”.