OLONGAPO - Four Chinese nationals involved in the operations of a floating shabu laboratory discovered in 2016 have been convicted by a court here, Friday.
Win Fai Lo, Shu Fook Leung, Kwok Tung Chan and Kam Wah Kwok were sentenced to life imprisonment, and were instructed to each pay a P5-million fine for possession of illegal drugs, the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court's decision read.
Charges on the manufacture of illegal drugs against the Chinese men were dismissed "for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt," the Court said.
The Department of Justice welcomed the conviction of the accused on the possession charge but expressed dismay over the court's decision to acquit them on the charge of manufacture of illegal drugs, Justice Undersecretary Mark L. Perete said in a statement.
"Be that as it may, the Department is satisfied that the 4 accused have been handed the sentence of life imprisonment. Such a sentence would keep them off the trade," he said.
"This conviction brings the government a step closer to curbing and hopefully eradicating the supply of illegal drugs," he said.
The 4 Chinese men from Hong Kong were first nabbed by authorities in 2016 aboard a 50-meter fish carrier vessel off the coast of Subic.
Some 470 grams of shabu were stashed in the boat along with a hydrogenator, an equipment used in the manufacture of the illegal drug, authorities earlier said.
The sea vessel was used as a manufacturing hub of illegal drugs. The produced contraband were placed in marked floating containers and thrown into the sea where they will be picked up by other members of the syndicate, police said.
- with a report from Angel Movido and Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News