4 Singaporeans, 56 others arrested in drug raid in the Philippines

Police photo of sachets of shabu and other drug paraphernalia, passports and travel documents seized from 61 foreigners arrested in a drug raid on Oct 26, 2016 evening at the office of Haoying Solutions in the prime Philippine financial district of M
Police photo of sachets of shabu and other drug paraphernalia, passports and travel documents seized from 61 foreigners arrested in a drug raid on Oct 26, 2016 evening at the office of Haoying Solutions in the prime Philippine financial district of Makati.PHOTO: NCRPO

MANILA - Sixty foreigners, including four Singaporeans, were arrested on Wednesday (Oct 26) during a drug raid in the Philippines’ prime financial district which uncovered an illegal gambling operation.

The foreigners worked at Haoying Solutions in an upscale office building in Makati. 

The company’s general manager, identified as Zhang Hai Long, was held for possession of crystal methamphetamine, known locally as “shabu”.

Besides Mr Zhang and the four Singaporeans, 50 Chinese, four Taiwanese, and one person from Hong Kong were also held for questioning.

Their names were not released, and they were not formally charged as of Wednesday night.

Police raided the office of Haoying Solutions at the Multinational Bancorporation Centre on a search warrant issued against Mr Zhang.

Senior Superintendent Eleazar Matta said police seized eight sachets containing crystals believed to be shabu, 12 aluminium foil sheets with traces of shabu, three lighters and an improvised tooter, among others.

Their passports and tourist visas were also confiscated.

Senior Supt Matta said they were surprised to find out that the company was running an illegal online gambling operation.

Haoying was supposed to be operating out of a special economic zone in Cagayan province, 500km north of Manila, as a company providing gaming support services and business process outsourcing. But it operated in Makati without a business permit, said Senior Supt Matta.

He said some 100 desktop computers were seized to check the nature and extent of Haoying’s operations.

He suggested that Mr Zhang could have encouraged his staff to use shabu “to survive the 24-hour work of the company”.

Police will coordinate with the immigration bureau to check if those arrested were staying in the Philippines illegally, he said.

rdancel@sph.com.sg