Chinese behind P1.8-B shabu escapes PH authorities via PAL, NAIA

Rambo Talabong
Chinese behind P1.8-B shabu escapes PH authorities via PAL, NAIA
Blacklisted Chinese man Zhijian Xu, also known as Jacky Co, escapes through NAIA, baffling police chief-turned-senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – A blacklisted male Chinese behind the P1.8-billion worth of shabu found at the Manila International Container Port  (MICP) escaped the Philippines through Philippine Airlines (PAL) despite apparently being included in the Interpol’s watch list.

In a 25-minute privilege speech on Wednesday, May 29, police chief-turned-senator Panfilo Lacson said Chinese national Zhijian Xu, also known as Jacky Co, is a wanted person in China, citing information from local law enforcement agencies.

Hindi lamang siya kasangkot sa kalakalan ng iligal na droga, bahagi rin siya ng isang malaking kidnapping syndicate dito sa Pilipinas na kumukubra ng ransom sa pamamagitan ng wire transfer at offshore banking,” Lacson said.

(He isn’t only involved in the illegal drug trade, he is also part of a big kidnapping syndicate here in the Philippines that receives money through wire transfer and offshore banking.)

Citing documents his office gathered, Lacson said Co owns a certain Feidatong International Logistics Company based in Bulacan.

When the drug shipment arrived in the Philippines, Jacky Co was apparently “in the country, monitoring.” More than a week after the shipment was seized, he hopped on a PAL plane on April 3 through the country’s busiest air terminal, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), flying to Vietnam through Singapore.

Hindi na nga nagmadaling tumakas, kampante pang lumipad mula sa NAIA (He wasn’t rushing to escape, he was even complacent enough to fly from NAIA),” Lacson said, questioning how someone like Co could easily slip through authorities despite his background. (READ: How P6.8-B ‘shabu’ slipped past PNP, PDEA, Customs)

He added: “Hindi tulad ng mga kapus-palad na naka-puruntong at tsinelas sa mga sulok-sulok ng eskinita na madalas nating makita sa telebisyon na naka-timbuwang at walang-buhay, dahil nanlaban daw umano sabi ni Kabo, buhay na buhay ang mga Intsik na tila nag-iisip nang malalim kung magkano ang gagastusin sa mga abugadong may koneksyon sa piskal o huwes na magpapalaya sa kanila.

(Unlike the unfortunate ones wearing shorts and slippers in the corners of dark alleys that we often see in television lying dead after allegedly fighting back, according to the chief, the Chinese are very much alive, thinking about how much they will spend for a lawyer with connections to a fiscal or judge who can free them.)

In his speech, Lacson lamented the continued existence of bribery in the Bureau of Customs despite efforts to clean up the agency. (READ: Lacson: Customs ‘still one hell of a mess’ despite anti-corruption drive – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.