Court Orders Arrest of Bren Esports Owner Over Alleged Involvement in Drug Trade
A Manila City Regional Trial Court has issued an arrest warrant against Bren Esports owner Bernard “Bren” Lu Chong as well as 11 other individuals for their alleged involvement in the unsuccessful smuggling of shabu (crystal meth). Chong and the other individuals were allegedly trying to smuggle PHP 1.87 billion ($33.6 million USD) worth of shabu at the Manila International Container Port according to news outlet .
A manhunt operation against Chong has been initiated
Bilyonaryo reported that The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has initiated a manhunt against Chong as well as the other alleged smugglers. The International Operations Division Chief Joey Moran of the NBI has requested all the accused individuals to surrender to the authorities and face the charges against them.
Moran told Bilyonaryo, “The NBI is mandated to track down and arrest fugitives regardless of their status. As long as you have a warrant of arrest, you become a subject of a manhunt. However, Mr. Lu Chong can spare everyone the trouble if he surrenders and faces the charges against him.”
The drugs were in 2019 with the smugglers attempting to hide them in a 40-foot container van. The drugs were shipped to the Philippines from Vietnam and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) initiated its investigations immediately. The authorities have concluded their investigations and the Bren Esports team owner is one of the individuals who is allegedly connected to the smuggling case.
Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva said that there is probable cause to file smuggling charges against Chong due to his role as the general manager of Fortuneyield.
The evidence allegedly shows that Fortuneyield paid for the freight charges and the container that was caught. Villanueva stated that it is “impossible for these payments of significant amounts to be made without the general manager’s knowledge and acquiescence.”
Bren Esports is a popular esports organization that has been a part of major Valorant and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang events over the years and if Chong is found guilty, it could have serious repercussions for the esports organization.
Update: According to Filipino news site Bilyonaryo, CHG Global, whose portfolio includes the lifestyle brand World Balance, has denied any link to Lu Chong.
Barnaby Chong, president and chief executive officer of CHG Global, said Bernard is his brother but is not in any way involved in the running of "CHG Global, World Balance, or any other businesses of the corporation.”
“We will never be involved in anything illegal, much less drugs, which destroy people’s lives and is contrary to the principles and values that have built our business on all these years,” he added.