Canadian killed in Philippines

MANILA: A suspected Canadian drug trafficker has died after being shot by Philippine police, the country's anti-narcotics chief said on Saturday.

Antonio Kcomt, 37, opened fire when anti-narcotics agents, who had been tailing him for two months, tried to arrest him as he drove in suburban Quezon City, north of Manila, Friday morning, said director general Dioniso Santiago.

Kcomt was wounded in the resulting gunfight and died after being admitted to hospital, Santiago said.

Santiago said Kcomt was a Canadian citizen of Chinese descent and a member of the Canadian chapter of Hell's Angels biker gang. He was also 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. "How then was he able to afford a high-end lifestyle?"

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.

Santiago 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 transshipment point for illegal drugs into Asia.

There are about 6.7 million Filipino drug users, mostly involving 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.