MANILA, Philippines - National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents arrested a Chinese man who is allegedly an international organized crime figure wanted for several felonies in the United States, including smuggling illegal drugs and counterfeit goods, officials said yesterday.
In a statement, NBI Foreign Liaison Division (FLD) chief Claro de Castro said Soon Ah Kow, a Hong Kong businessman in his 70s, was charged with 14 counts of felony violations before a federal grand jury in New Jersey. Soon, born in Malaysia, holds a Chinese passport.
He has been wanted in the US since sometime last year, De Castro said.
The NBI said Soon allegedly arranges and brokers large-scale smuggling of drugs and counterfeit goods from different Southeast Asian countries.
Soon reportedly travels using fraudulent passports from different countries, the NBI said, adding that the suspect has admitted to US undercover agents that he has “business associates in China.”
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima issued a memorandum dated Feb. 2 to NBI officer-in-charge Nonnatus Caesar Rojas, forwarding a request of the US Department of Justice attaché for Soon’s capture.
She directed the NBI, through De Castro, to arrest Soon, who was scheduled to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 from Hong Kong via a Dragon Air flight on Feb. 25.
On Feb. 10, the NBI-FLD filed an urgent request for Soon’s provisional arrest, which was granted by the Manila regional trial court.
NBI-FLD agents arrested Soon upon his arrival at the airport, then brought him to the NBI headquarters for booking and detention. - By Sandy Araneta