MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has tagged two triads based in Hong Kong and Taiwan as among groups behind the proliferation of illegal drugs in the Philippines.
In a speech at the 120th anniversary of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Duterte said the 14K and Bamboo triads are now running the drug trade in the Philippines.
“Itong drugs ngayon is being operated by the 14K, Bamboo triad. They have taken over. They are cooking the shabu in the high seas. Tapos itatapon [sa dagat]. Kita mo sa Region 1, maraming mga bins na empty, may Chinese character. It’s actually Taiwan and lahat na,” Duterte said.
“I cannot blame the Chinese government or the people because we were doing it here before.”
In another speech during the 56th Anniversary of the Philippine Constitution Association, Duterte said the Philippines has become a “client state” of the Bamboo triad.
“The Philippines is a transshipment [point] of shabu to America. It behooves upon America to work closely with the Republic of the Philippines especially in this serious matter,” he said.
The Taiwan-based United Bamboo triad has been linked to illegal drugs and human trafficking. In 2008, it was listed by the US magazine Foreign Policy as one of the world’s most dangerous gangs.
A South China Morning Post report said United Bamboo was founded in 1956 by people from mainland China who fled to Taiwan. The report said United Bamboo had close ties to the 14K triad and several major Japanese yakuza gangs.
The SCMP report said some 180 suspected United Bamboo members were arrested in the Philippines in August 2012 and deported to Taiwan for allegedly trying to set up a base for a scam operation here.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila had on Monday denied being a source of illegal drugs in the Philippines, saying it would continue working closely with Philippine authorities to fight the narcotics trade.
The Hong Kong-based 14K triad, meanwhile, was also named by New York-based magazine Complex as one of the most dangerous gangs in the world.
In 2014, Complex reported that 14K started in 1949 and has about 20,000 members. Its activities include illegal gambling, human trafficking, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, weapons trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, money laundering, loansharking, vehicle trafficking, extortion, robbery and murder.
Philippine government officials have long held that most of the drugs being imported to the Philippines are from China.
This was bolstered by the discovery of P6.4 billion worth of shabu at a Valenzuela factory. The contraband apparently came from China and had slipped past through the port of Manila allegedly through the help of corrupt customs officials.