Bernard “Bren” Chong, a coffee magnate, app entrepreneur and owner of the Bren Esports team, has been accused by Filipino authorities of being part of a P1.87 billion (USD$33 million) drug bust in Manila.
As The Daily Tribune reports, The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have “launched a manhunt” after Chong was found to be one of the owners of a shipping company that stands accused of trying to import “shabu” (the local slang for meth) through the Manila International Container Port back in 2019.
Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation, of which Chong is one of the owners, allegedly paid for both the container deposit and the freight costs for the drugs, leading the NBI to say, “It would be impossible for these payments of significant amounts to be made without the general manager’s knowledge and acquiescence.”
Bren Esports, named after Chong, is a major Filipino esports organisation that has pro teams taking part in everything from Overwatch to League of Legends to Counter-Strike. Founded back in 2017, they’ve won 34 tournaments across their various games, and have a large following on social media. So this is a big deal, not just for the team but for esports in the entire region.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Chong, who has been officially charged with an “illegal drugs offence” under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. “Mr. Lu Chong can spare everyone the trouble if he surrenders and faces the charges against him,” NBI international operations divisions chief Joey Moran told The Daily Tribune.
Chong has taken to Twitter to defend himself, saying:
Hello Twitter, as some of you may be aware, throughout the last few hours there have been several news articles written about my alleged involvement in a case in my home country, the Philippines.
I’m writing this twitter thread to categorically deny these claims that may destroy the good name I have taken cared [sic] of for so many years.
Some of you may only know me as a part of the Esports community but in reality I’m a much broader person than just that, I’m an Angel Investor and Entrepreneur. I invest in companies/startups that I believe has great potential or start my own.
I invest in people who has great ideas, and more so, to individuals whom I see goodness and great talent.
I believe in the justice system that protects the innocent, and the truth will always prevail. I hope this clarifies any doubts you have and thank you for your support during these trying times. - Bernard Lu Chong