bren esports, bren chong, drug accusation
(Photo : Twitter / Photo taken from Bren Chong Twitter Account)

Authorities in the Philippines have charged Bernard “Bren” Chong, the owner of the Bren Esports team, with involvement in a P1.87 billion (USD$33 million) drug bust in Manila.

Bren Esports’s Owner Is Wanted By NBI

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is searching for Filipino businessman Bernard Chong because of his alleged participation in a shabu (methamphetamines) drug smuggling case, according to Dot Esport (via Philippines-based media outlet Bylyonaryo).

The drug smuggling case at the Manila International Container Port in the Philippines began in 2019. According to the allegations, Chong was connected to this drug case as one of the proprietors of Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation, the company that collected the drug shipment. On June 2, 2021, a warrant for Chong’s arrest was issued, and on April 29, 2022, the appeal was rejected.

According to the NBI (via Kotaku), Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation allegedly paid both the freight fees and the container deposit for the drugs, making it difficult for such significant payments to be made without the general manager’s knowledge and consent.

However, Chong denied the allegations against him in a twitter thread.

Hello Twitter, as some of you may be aware, throughout the last few hours there have been several news articles written about my alleged involvement in a case in my home country, the Philippines.

— Bernard Chong (@brenchong) August 2, 2022

Businesses Owned By Chong

Bren Esports, which Chong founded in 2017, is now one of the most well-known esports groups in Southeast Asia. Bren Esports fields teams in VALORANT, Wild Rift, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike, among other games. They have a sizable social media following and have taken home 34 tournament victories throughout their various games. Therefore, this is a major moment for the team as well as the entire region’s esports scene, as per Dot Esport and Kotaku.

Along with Bren Esports, Chong is also the owner of the shoe company World Balance, the Philippine Tim Hortons franchise, and the social media platform Lyka.

Philippines’ War On Drugs

Council on Foreign Relations noted that former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has waged a war on drugs ever since taking office in June 2016. One of Duterte’s main domestic initiatives is the drug war, which is an expansion of the measures he first put in place while serving as mayor of Davao, one of the Philippines’ largest cities on the southern island of Mindanao.

During his presidential campaign, Rodrigo Duterte asserted that drug use and trafficking were significant roadblocks to the Philippines’ economic and social development.

The most popular drug in the Philippines is shabu, a methamphetamine variant. The Philippines had the highest rate of methamphetamine abuse among all the nations in East Asia, according to a 2012 United Nations report. Methamphetamine use among Filipinos between the ages of 16 and 64 was estimated to be around 2.2%, with marijuana and methamphetamine being the most popular drug choices in the country.

The police are doing extensive sweeps. High-ranking politicians and other powerful figures who were reportedly involved in the drug trade were listed by the Philippine National Police, as per Council on Foreign Relations.

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