ZAMBALES, Philippines – Authorities seized a suspected floating shabu laboratory off Subic Bay on Monday night, July 11, and arrested all 4 of its Chinese crew.
During their inspection of the supposed fishing vessel, members of the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group discovered shabu manufacturing equipment said to be capable of producing 25 kilos a day, and nearly half a kilo of suspected shabu with a market value of P2.2 million.
The crew members arrested, one of them a chemist, were identified as Shu Fook Leung, Kwok Tung Chan, Wing Fai Lo, and Kam Wah Kwok – all Chinese nationals from Hong Kong. They reportedly arrived in the Philippines 7 days ago on board a Cathay Pacific flight.
It was not revealed, however, how and where they boarded the boat.
Authorities believed that the recovered shabu was just a tiny part of the freshly-produced batch that had been picked up by local contacts in Cagayan, Pangasinan, and Subic while the boat was in the open seas.
A few hours after the operation, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Subic Mayor Jay Khonghun, and Zambales PNP Provincial Director Christopher Mateo boarded the boat.
Khonghun said that upon boarding the vessel, authorities began to suspect that it was not used for fishing because it was very clean and had no smell of fish.
The Subic mayor added that according to the police intelligence network, the fishing vessel came from Hong Kong and entered the country through Cagayan, and later sailed to Ilocos, then Pangasinan, until it was monitored entering Subic Bay.
Dela Rosa said in an interview that the boat was being used to bring illegal drugs into the Philippines.
“Sa loob lang ng dalawang araw, nakakagawa na sila ng shabu and then ibabagsak sa dagat, tapos may pipick-up na may mangingisdang Pinoy sa mga lugar ng Ilocos to Cagayan and Ilocos to Pangasinan tapos dito sa Subic, kaya kailangan magaling ang mga gagamitin mong intel, he said.
(In two days, they can manufacture shabu, which would be dumped into the sea, then picked up by Filipino fishermen in the areas from Ilocos to Cagayan, and Ilocos to Pangasinan, and then here in Subic. This is why you need very good intel.)
Khonghun said the alleged floating shabu laboratory was discovered through the help of local fishermen and arrested suspected shabu users. They told local police that “something” was happening inside the boat while at sea.
The drug bust came over a week after the police recovered at least 180 kilograms of methamphetamine or “shabu” worth about P900 million during a joint operation in Cagayan.
Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba earlier said that the illegal drug trade has been a problem in the province for the longest time largely due to the absence of a serious effort to run after syndicates operating there. (READ: Cagayan governor: Politicians ‘big protectors’ of drug lords)
It was second time that the shabu floating laboratory was reportedly sighted in the Philippines, after 2013. – Rappler.com
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