iconimg Saturday, August 01, 2015

Agence France-Presse
Manila , August 22, 2009
A Canadian national and a former policeman suspected of drug dealing have been killed in separate gunbattles with Philippine anti-narcotics agents, an official said on Saturday. A Chinese man believed to be part of an international drug gang was also arrested in one of the deadly raids, said Dionisio Santiago, director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Antonio Kcomt, 37, a Canadian of Chinese descent, died in hospital after being wounded Friday morning in the first shoot-out, Santiago said.

Another suspected drug dealer, former police Inspector Nathaniel Capitanea was killed Saturday in a gunbattle with agents who raided an upscale apartment in the financial district of Makati, Santiago said.

He said Capitanea was killed during an attempt to arrest Hong Chun Chang, the Philippine contact of a drugs syndicate operating out of Hong Kong. Hong has been detained and was being questioned, Santiago said.

Capitanea went underground in 2006 after he was involved in the theft of around seven kilogrammes (15.4 pounds) of methamphetamines from a police evidence room, police said.

Kcomt was shot after firing at agents who had been tailing him for two months, when they flagged down his vehicle in suburban Quezon City, north of Manila, Santiago said.

Kcomt was a member of the Canadian chapter of Hell's Angels biker gang, Santiago said, and was believed to be "the main source of cocaine and Ecstasy" in many Manila nightclubs.

The Canadian embassy was not immediately available to comment.

"The suspect has been in the country for at least two years and is certified to be unemployed," Santiago said.

Santiago said that Kcomt was also wanted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for fraud and theft in Canada.

Police recovered from Kcomt's convertible a plastic bag containing capsules of Ecstasy, a nine-millimetre hand gun and fake IDs claiming he was a consultant for the Philippine justice department's investigative arm.

Manila has been stepping up the war on drug gangs since the start of the year, with official statistics pointing to the Philippines as a major shipment point for illegal drugs into Asia.

There are about 6.7 million Filipino drug users, mostly taking amphetamines, marijuana and party drugs like Ecstasy, the statistics show.

Drug gangs have also penetrated Philippine politics from the municipal to the national level, with many politicians believed to receive campaign funds from them, officials have said.