China tip leads to 600-kg drug bust in the Philippines

Philippine authorities acted on a tip from Chinese customs. The methamphetamine, also known as ‘shabu’, was seized in Valenzuela City, near the capital Manila.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Authorities display the haul of methamphetamine or "Shabu" seized in the largest drug bust since China and the Philippines launched a crackdown on drug smuggling. (May 29, 2017)

Philippine authorities last week seized more than 600 kilogrammes (0.5 tons) of methamphetamine in the largest such bust since China launched a crackdown on drug smuggling in cooperation with its southeast Asian neighbour, Chinese customs said on Monday.

China is the main source of methamphetamine consumed in the Philippines, which is caught in the throes of a brutal war on drugs waged by its president, Rodrigo Duterte.

Two people arrested in a May 12 raid on suspected smugglers told Chinese authorities they hid the drugs in five printing machines to smuggle them into the Philippines, customs officials in the coastal city of Xiamen said.

Tipped off by their Chinese counterparts, Philippine officials seized 604 kgs (1,332 lb) of methamphetamine on May 26, Xiamen Customs said on its website.

"According to the Philippines side, this case is the largest drug trafficking bust made by the Philippines ever since China and the Philippines launched [a joint operation] against cross-border drug smuggling," the Xiamen officials said.

The Philippines' Bureau of Customs said in a statement issued on May 20, 2017 that it had acted on the intelligence from Chinese customs to seize the drugs in Valenzuela City, about 14 kilometres north of the country's capital of Manila.

It valued the haul at 6.4 billion pesos ($130 million).

"Our level of effective information-sharing with China Customs Cooperation sends a strong warning to all those involved in the drugs trade," said Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.

The two nations agreed during Duterte's visit to China last October to strengthen cooperation in battling illicit drugs.

Duterte defended Beijing last year after a Reuters report quoted Philippine drug enforcement officials as saying China had done little over the years to stem the flow of meth and its precursor chemicals.

TRTWorld and agencies