Bernard Chong is a Filipino entrepreneur that founded Bren Esports in 2017. It has become a very prominent esports organization in Southeast Asia, with teams participating in titles such as Valorant and Wild Rift. Chong is also a big name in major companies, including social media platform Lyka and the Philippine franchise of fast food chain Tim Hortons.
While you might not expect this from an esports organization owner, he is wanted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for his alleged involvement in a drug smuggling case of shabu (methamphetamines) that’s worth 1.87 billion Philippine pesos—the equivalent of approximately $33.6 million, according to Philippines-based media outlet Bylyonaryo.
But this isn’t something completely recent as this case dates back to 2019 at the Manila International Container Port in the Philippines. Chong was allegedly tied to this narcotics case as one of the owners of Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation, the collector of the drug shipment. The warrant for Chong’s arrest was issued on June 2, 2021, and the appeal was rejected on April 29, 2022.
“Drug smuggling is a very serious case and is an unbailable offense,” Joey Moran, the International Operations Division Chief at NBI said, according to Bylyonaryo. “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 Chung can spare everyone the trouble if he surrenders and face the charges against him.”.
A couple of days later, Bren released an official statement denying any involvement in a drug smuggling attempt. Even if the concern is about a $33.6 drug scandal, it’s usual for esports statements to be posted on Twitter. On August 2, Bren said he was aware of the news articles from the Philippines writing about his alleged involvement in the drug smuggling scandal.
“I’m writing this Twitter thread to categorically deny these claims that may destroy the good name I have taken cared of for so many years,” Bren said on Twitter.
As a prominent investor and entrepreneur, Bren has invested in many companies and startups. This includes the cargo company involved in the drug smuggling scandal. Bren confirmed that he invested in the company but is largely hands-off and not involved in the illegal activities that took place.
“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,” Bren said.
If Chong ends up being convicted, this could set a precedent in esports as this would be the biggest scandal surrounding an esports organization. $33.6 million is nothing to joke about, if Chongs is guilty then he could be incarcerated for a really, really long time.