Gov't hunts down Hong Kong national allegedly behind ₱3.4-B shabu smuggling

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — The government has asked Hong Kong for help in hunting down a certain KC Chan, who is allegedly behind the smuggling of ₱3.4 billion worth of shabu to the Philippines.

This was revealed by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino on Wednesday, during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's 16th hearing on drug shipments slipping into the country.

"Nagreply yung Hong Kong government, nanghihingi ng passport details ni KC Chan (The Hong Kong government has replied, asking for KC Chan's passport details)," Aquino said.

The country's chief drug buster, however, admitted it was hard for the government to obtain information on Chan, a Hong Kong national, because he goes by many names, including Chao Yue Wah, Albert Chan and Tony Chan.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairperson Richard Gordon said this is not an excuse.

"I cannot believe we cannot arrest him… We will continue these hearings until we capture him," he said.

He said the government should exhaust all means to arrest Chan, including the putting up of a bounty for Chan's arrest.

Chan is the reported liaison behind the 500-kilo shabu shipment that authorities found in the Manila International Container Port in August, hidden in two magnetic scrap lifters.

The consignee, Vecaba Trading International, said Chan only used the company's name and that they did not know that the shipment contained drugs.

"Nagamit lang po ako (I was only used)," Vecaba owner Vedacio Cabral Araquel told the senators.

Aquino said Vecaba Trading is still liable for the importation of drugs, along with his wife and others involved in the shipment.

"Ang problema sa mag-asawa, pumayag sila nang di nila alam kung ano i-import (The problem with the partners is they agreed (to Chan) without knowing what would be imported)," Aquino said.

Gordon called Chan the "mastermind of the drug intrusion in this country," but Aquino said there are bigger leaders of international drug syndicates. "Ginagamit lang siya ng sindikato (He is just being used by the syndicate)," Aquino said.

The Senate is also investigating the four magnetic lifters found in a warehouse in Cavite last month which drug enforcement officials said have been emptied of ₱6.8 billion worth of shabu. This is despite claims made by the Bureau of Customs and even President Rodrigo Duterte that this is mere speculation.