The owner of the Bren Esports team, Bernard Lu Chong, is being sought by authorities in the Philippines in connection with a $33 million drug bust, the Daily Tribune reports (opens in new tab).
Chong is currently the subject of a manhunt by Philippine police due to his ties to Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation (FCS), which is accused of trying to smuggle about 276 kilos (or around 608 pounds) of meth through Manila International Container Port three years ago. Chong is alleged to be one of the owners of Fortuneyield Cargo Services.
A long resolution from Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva states that payments on the scale necessary for Fortuneyield to carry out a smuggling operation like the one busted three years ago could not occur "without the general manager's knowledge and acquiescence". Before the meth bust in 2019, Chong was also named in connection with a container smuggling operation (opens in new tab) worth about $1.25 million, for which he faces separate charges.
Chong has since taken to Twitter (opens in new tab) to deny the allegations against him, writing that he categorically denies "these claims that may destroy the good name" that he has "taken care of for so many years", and retweeting statements of support from figures in the esports community. Chong does not say whether he will be turning himself in to the authorities.
I’m writing this twitter thread to categorically deny these claims that may destroy the good name I have taken cared of for so many years.August 2, 2022
Bren Esports is a big regional presence on the esports scene, and having its owner become the subject of a major drugs-related manhunt is sure to cause wider and wider ripples the longer it drags on. Of course, the Philippines has been notorious for its harsh anti-narcotics policies ever since former president Rodrigo Duterte began his 'war on drugs' after taking office in 2016, a war which his successor has pledged to continue (opens in new tab) (though with more focus on prevention and rehabilitation). Anyone with the means to do so is likely to spend a lot of time and money avoiding the possibility of having to face such a system, so this story may drag on for a while.