Sunday, August 10, 1997 

2 traders linked to int'l. syndicate
Lim, Lhuillier also belong to............... Magnificent 7: NG report 

     A CONGRESSIONAL inquiry yesterday revealed what narcotics police have long suspected about Cebu businessmen Peter G. Lim and Michel Lhuillier---- that the two have links with the 14-k, a notorious international Chinese drug ring and a group of Cebu smugglers called the "Magnificent 7".

     Details of intelligence data gathered by the Narcotics Group 7 were read aloud in the hearing at the Capitol Session Hall.

     Quoting a police summary report, Rep. Antonio Cuenco Lim allegedly used his three nightspots in Cebu city as a meeting place of Chinese contacts who are also members of the 14-K group.

     Lim will be asked to execute an affidavit to answers allegations that his importation of heavy equipment was a front to ship illegal drugs here. He also has to explain his association with David Lim who owns Infinity, a Manila nightspot where Chinese "drug lords"  regularly meet.

     The house committee on public order and security is also looking into the deployment of some Cebu policemen as Lim's bodyguard. (See separate story).

     Lim did not appear in the hearing for the second time, Lhuillier and eight others showed up to deny under oath any role in the drug trade.

     Lhuillier was confronted with police intelligence reports that he knew Chi Cho Sing, an identified leader of the 14-K group in the Visayas and Mindanao. Sing reportedly uses the aliases Sammy Lim and Rommel Lim.

    "No, I haven't known him, nor have I come across that name," said Lhuillier, who was said to be a member of the "Magnificent Seven."

     That kind of flat denial was repeated by the pawnshop chain owner throughout his testimony.

     Another portion of the intelligence report read by Rep. Raul del Mar said that an overseas phone call from Peter Dale Cree, a convicted derug dealer from New Zealand, had been traced to a phone number registered in Lhuillier's name.

     A 1988 seizure of firearms in Camotes island, including a surveillance operations by the Coast Guard which had suspected him of engaging in drug and gun smuggling.

     Lim, owner of Hilton Heavy Equipment, sent a note explaining that he feared for his life and had been receiving death threats.

     He may be subpoenaed by the House committee if he refuses their invitation again, said Rep. Roilo Golez, chairman.

     Of the 13 persons listed as "financiers" in the PNP watch list exposed by Congressman Cuenco last month, nine showed up yesterday to deny the charges.

     For lack of time, only six were allowed to testify.

     Marlyn Rosal of Lahug, Cebu City, was confronted with information thta her former common law husband, Raymund Wang, a Taiwanese engineer who worked at Interworld in Bulacan is a member of the 14-K gang.

     She confirmed that Wang has been detained in Manila for two years now after his arrest on a charge of drug trafficking.

     Lhuillier and Rosal appealed to the House committee to clear their names from the watch.

     After the half-day inquiry, members said there was no basis to pursue their investigation and not clear their names or remove them from the watch list but members were not inclined to do so.

     The House committee ended its Cebu hearings yesterday but will continue the work in Manila.

     After the half-day inquiry, members said there was basis to pursue their investigation and not clear the names in the PNP watch list.

     "We have enough moral ground to continue with our inquiry," said Cuenco.

     "There are shocking revelations, There are witnesses who admitted to some  relationships. This only establishes that there are interlocking relationships," Golez said in an interview later.

     Narcotics 7 Chief Jose Dayco confirmed yesterday that Lim, the owner of Hilton Heavy Equipment, was the same person referred to in his watch list.  yesterday that Lim, the owner of Hilton Heavy Equipment, was the same person referred to in his watch list. 

     "It appears that there is so much information about Peter Lim and there are so many questions that he needs to answer. Maybe that's the reason he's so evasive. To remove doubts, he should show up," Golez said. 

     Golez said they will come up with a comprehensive report on all the drug-related hearings conducted by his committee, not only in Cebu.

     The information used by congressmen in yesterday's hearing was culled from a report of the Narcotics Group 7.

    The report is a summary of information contained in several dossiers which were used as bases in mmm


drafting the watch list. The report contained names of other suspected members of 14-K gang and their alleged cohorts.

     NG Chief Dayco, who was the source of the watch list, was not allowed to present the information himself in the hearing. The congressmen said they were apprehensive he may be held liable in a legal suit.

     Instead, the legislators framed questions based on Dayco's report.

     In two previous hearings in Cebu, Dayco was prodded by the committee to produce evidence or give his bases for including the names of 245 persons in the watch list as financiers and pushers.     

     But Dayco would always ask to be allowed to do it in an executive or closed-door session. 

     It was Lhuillier who insisted yesterday that he disclose his information.

     Dayco finally gave in and agreed to present his bases during an open session. Only this time, the Congressman did not allow him.

     One highlight of the Narcom intelligence report was the role of a New Zealander, Peter Dale Cree. Cree was recently released from prison for smuggling marijuana to the United States. He reportedly p laced a call to a phone number registered in the name of Lhuillier.

     (The congressmen did not say whether the phone number was a residential or business line, and its exact location.)

     Golez said, New Zealand authorities have monitored the activities of Cree believing that he has continued his drug-related activities and established local contacts in the Philippines.

     "No, I don't know him," said Lhuillier," this is a surprise. I don't know anyone from New Zealand."

     Nevertheless, Golez ordered the committee secretary to contact New Zealand authorities to get confirmation that a call was made to a number traced to Lhuillier's number.

     Cuenco, still drawing from the Narcom intelligence report, recalled that in 1988, Lhuillier was placed under surveillance by the Phillipine Coast Guard on suspicion of smuggling jewelry and other taxable items from the port of Isabel, Leyte to the Cebu International Port. 

     The smuggled goods were reportedly dropped at sea near Camotes island where the goods are picked up by boat and brought to his private resort. Lhuillier was suspected of being engaged in firearms and jewelry smuggling.

     In his testimony yesterday, Lhuillier denied any role in smuggling. He faced a case at the fiscal's office in 1988 after operatives recovered some firearms in his resort but the case was dismissed, he said.

     Lhuillier stressed that he has no building in Camotes island, just a nipa hut used as temporary shelter . He said his property in Camotes is one of his investments. At that time, Lhuillier was deputy governor of Cebu appointed by then governor Emilio "Lito" Osmeņa. Lhuillier was also the Philippines' honorary consul to France for eight years.

     Lawyer Romulo Senining, Lhuillier's legal counsel, said he could not recall his client talking about or dealing with a person named Cree or Sing, whom authorities said have links with the illegal drug trade. 

     He pointed out that Lhuillier has over 500 telephone registered in his name for his chain of pawnshops all over the country.

     With 3,000 workers in his business enterprises, Sening said it would be difficult to trace who actually placed or received that call from the New Zealander.

     On the 1998 smuggling report, Sening noted that the firearms recovered in Camotes did not belong to Lhuillier. He said they were found along the seashore, not in Lhuillier's resort.

     The nine suspected drug financiers who showed up yesterday included Chovy Lim, Victor Lim, Jun Opone, Alex Borbus (listed in the watch list as Alex Chiongbian), Bo Oyao, PO3 Mario Cuerda and PO3 Richard Quimod.

     In previous hearings, the six individuals confirmed knowing some of the other names on the list, but denied any involvement in drug trafficking.

     Victor Lim, for instance, said he knew one of Peter Lim's brothers in school but not Peter himself. Victor was reportedly identified by a drug rehabilitation patient as his source of illegal drugs.

     Jun Opone assigned at the Cebu city's fire department, confirmed that he is the husband of Lalaine Opone whose name is also listed in the watch list. Rosal-Wang, who is allegedly the source of Opone, is the sister of Lalaine.

     Opone owns a security agency which he said is registered under the name of his wife-- L & J Security and Janitorial Services. CAM 

Comments:  After all what was said and done in Cebu about the illegal drug trade during the congressional hearings, Congressman Cuenco said, "We have enough moral ground to continue with our inquiry" and Congressman Golez said, "There are shocking revelations. There are witnesses who admitted to some relationships.  This only establishes that there are interlocking relationships." 

     Seven years later (2004) the biggest Shabu laboratory in the whole Asia, if not in the world is discovered in Mandaue. 

     Until now nothing had been heard of this  congressional hearing. And no one of the above names were cleared nor charged.

NOTE:  1.  RED COLOR OURS FOR EMPHASIS.                                                                                

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