Bren Esports owner wanted in $34m drug smuggling case

Luís Mira

Filipino businessman Bernard Chong, the founder and owner of popular organization Bren Esports, is wanted by local authorities for his alleged involvement in a drug smuggling case.

Joey Moran, the International Operations Division Chief at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), has said that a manhunt is underway for Chong, who was allegedly involved in the botched smuggling of 1.87 billion Philippine pesos — the equivalent of $33.6 million — worth of shabu (methamphetamines) at the Manila International Container Port in 2019.

Chong was tied to the smuggling attempt as one of the owners of Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation, the consignee of the drug shipment. A warrant for his arrest was issued on June 2, 2021, with his appeal rejected on April 29.

“Drug smuggling is a very serious case and is an unbailable offense,” Moran is quoted by local media outlet Bilyonaryo as saying. “ 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.”

Besides founding Bren Esports, Chong is behind controversial social media platform Lyka and footwear and apparel brand World Balance. He also owns the Philippine franchise of Tim Hortons, a Canadian fast food restaurant chain.

Only last month, Chong was named the International Acquisitions & User Experience Advisor at VYRE Network, a free streaming platform available through apps on a number of digital media players and on the web.

Chong responded to the allegations on Twitter on August 2 at 2:17 p.m. EST. He said that he believes the justice system protects the innocent and that “the truth will prevail.”

“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,” he said online.

He did not address the alleged crimes directly.

Who are Bren Esports?

Founded in 2017, Bren Esports has established itself as one of the biggest organizations in Southeast Asia, competing in various games, from League of Legends to CS:GO.

In January 2021, the organization’s Mobile Legends team won the M2 World Championship in Singapore, pocketing $140,000.

Bren Esports’ Mobie Legends team won the M2 World Championship in 2021

Later that year, Bren’s Valorant team was due to compete in the VCT Stage 3 Masters event in Berlin. However, due to the travel restrictions in place related to the global health crisis, the team ended up missing the event. Weeks later, Bren parted ways with the players, who went on to join Team Secret.