Olongapo court junks bail plea of suspects in ‘floating shabu lab’

MANILA -- The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) denied the petition for bail of four Hong Kong residents allegedly involved in the operation of a 'floating shabu laboratory' off Subic, Zambales in July 2016.

In a 26-page order, Olongapo RTC Branch 75 Judge Raymond Viray dismissed the Dec. 22, 2017 petition for bail filed by Win Fai Lo, Shu Fook Leung, Kam Wah Kwok and Kwok Tung Chan for lack of merit, adding that the evidence of the prosecution is strong.

"While the evidence is still preliminary, there is no clear showing that the prosecution's case is weak as to entitle the accused to bail. The trial is still going on; and it is not amiss to point that even this disposition on bail is a mere preliminary appraisal of the prosecution's evidence," the order stated.

The court said that while the vessel appeared to be a fishing vessel doing legitimate business, the presence of equipment used in manufacturing shabu was a prima facie proof of manufacture of dangerous drug."

"In addition, shabu in its finished product was found inside the boat and which leads the discussion to the other charge of drug possession," the court said.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, who is handling the case, welcomes the court's order.

"We welcome this development especially because this case was filed just one and a half years ago. The court acted properly and speedily based on nothing but the clear facts and evidence," he said.

The four were arrested last July 11, 2016 in a raid conducted by the joint team from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) inside the vessel at the municipal waters of Barangay Calapandayan, Subic, Zambales.

During the raid, the four presented their passports but failed to produce documentation for the vessel. During the search, authorities also found that the bag which Shu Fook Leung admitted was his had a resealable plastic bag containing a white crystalline substance believed to be shabu. Shu Fook Leung, Win Fai Lo are both boat engine operators while Kam Wah Kwok was the boat captain and Kwok Tung Chan contracted the job.

Also discovered inside the vessel was a hydrogenerator machine used in manufacturing dangerous drugs which the Department of Justice considered was prima facie ("at first look" or "on its face") finding that manufacturing was actually done by the four men inside the boat.

A laboratory exam conducted by the PDEA on the seized items showed the presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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