• Kyodo

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Philippine employment officials warned Filipino entertainers in Japan on Thursday against acquiring or using the “Bangkok pill,” a popular but illegal diet tablet that has been found to contain harmful ingredients.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Reynaldo Regalado said in a statement that workers found in possession of the drug face prosecution under Japanese law.

The Bangkok pill, so named because it is imported into the Philippines from Thailand by black market traders, became a craze in Manila about a year ago.

Regalado said he has received reports that some Filipino entertainers in Japan ask friends or relatives to send them Bangkok pills to lose weight. Others obtain the pills through the mail.

Regalado’s staff said the POEA warning was prompted by a letter from an association of Japanese promoters to the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo asking that Filipino workers be warned against using or bringing the drug into Japan.

The POEA said it has not heard of any cases of Filipino workers being arrested in Japan for using the drug.

The pill is subject to confiscation in the Philippines but is sold openly on the black market for about $50 for 200 pills, enough for roughly 28 days.

Ecstasy arrest

NARITA, Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) A German man was arrested at Narita airport Aug. 29 on suspicion of smuggling the popular party drug ecstasy into Japan, police said Thursday.

Matthias Reetz, 52, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle about 10,000 ecstasy pills into the country in violation of the Narcotics Control Law when he arrived at the airport from Germany.

The pills are worth about 50 million yen, the customs officials said, adding that Reetz’s bag had a false bottom that contained small plastic bags of pills.

Drug-linked murder

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) Two Japanese men have been arrested on suspicion of killing an Iranian man and assaulting another in a drug dispute in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, earlier this month, police said.

The suspects were identified as Takashi Endo, 26, and Fumiaki Kosuge, 23.

According to police, the suspects fatally hit and stabbed an Iranian man and injured another Iranian at around 12:30 a.m. Sept. 1 as they sat in a parked car.

The Iranians were lured to the parking lot by the two suspects who posed as drug dealers, the police said, adding that the injured Iranian was in possession of about 0.6 gram of amphetamines.

The two suspects, believed to be gangsters, confessed to attacking the Iranians because they were selling drugs on their turf, the police added.

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