Philippines seizes drugs in upscale area, arrests 4 Chinese

This is the second-largest drug haul of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency this year. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 March 2019

Philippines seizes drugs in upscale area, arrests 4 Chinese

  • Three Chinese nationals and a Chinese-Filipino man were arrested late Tuesday during “buy-bust” raids
  • The drugs were concealed in tea wrappers similar to those seized in Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar

MANILA: Philippine authorities have seized more than 160 kilograms (350 pounds) of methamphetamine concealed in tea wrappers in their second-largest drug haul this year in a sign of how the problem has persisted despite the president’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino says three Chinese nationals and a Chinese-Filipino man, who works as an interpreter, were arrested late Tuesday during “buy-bust” raids in an upscale residential enclave and outside a shopping mall in metropolitan Manila.
Aquino said Wednesday the drugs were concealed in tea wrappers similar to those seized in Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar and indicated an international syndicate was behind the trafficking.
Thousands of mostly poor drug suspects have died in President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs since he took office in mid-2016.


Greece moves more migrants to mainland as arrivals increase

Updated 16 min 3 sec ago

Greece moves more migrants to mainland as arrivals increase

  • Some 697 migrants and refugees arrived in the port of Elefsina near Athens from the island of Samos
  • Greece is struggling with the biggest resurgence in refugee and migrant flows across the Aegean Sea from Turkey since 2015
ATHENS: Authorities in Greece moved more asylum-seekers to the mainland on Tuesday as part of a strategy to reduce the refugee population on outlying islands after an increase in arrivals in recent months.

Some 697 migrants and refugees arrived in the port of Elefsina near Athens from the island of Samos, officials said. Earlier, 120 people arrived from Lesbos.

Greece is struggling with the biggest resurgence in refugee and migrant flows across the Aegean Sea from Turkey since 2015, when more than a million crossed into Europe, many of them via Greece.

The islands, which are closest to Turkey, have been struggling under the influx, with some 33,700 refugees and migrants in overcrowded camps, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

In late September, a woman died in a fire in a tent in a camp on Lesbos, while another fire in a severely overcrowded camp in Samos forced hundreds of people into the streets this month.

“Our focus was mainly on Samos because we want things there to calm down,” migration ministry secretary Manos Logothetis told Reuters.

More than 12,000 people arrived in Greece in September, the highest level in the three-and-a-half years since the EU agreed a deal with Turkey to seal the Aegean corridor to Europe.

Logothetis said up to 300 more people would be leaving Samos this week, and up to 2,000 from all outlying islands next week. Greece aims to move up to 20,000 off the islands by the end of the year, he said.

Athens has announced a stricter migration policy to deal with the crisis, including plans to deport 10,000 people who do not qualify for asylum by the end of next year.