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13 facing criminal charges over Closeup deaths

Thirteen people are facing criminal complaints over the deaths of five people at last May’s Closeup Forever Summer festival in Manila.

Following an eight-month investigation, the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation (NIB) has asked for negligent homicide charges to be brought against 13 executives of promoter Closeup, its parent company, Unilever Philippines, and several security companies, which it alleges “had the ability to prevent the unwanted incidents but failed to do so”.

The victims, all of whom collapsed at the festival and died later in hospital, had ingested a cocktail of alcohol and drugs, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was previously reported the five had taken ‘green amore’, a potentially lethal mix of MDMA and shabu, or methamphetamine.

“We acted in good faith in the staging of the event and will continue to cooperate in all the upcoming proceedings”

The NBI complaint, filed yesterday, with the Department of Justice, says the companies – Unilever, Closeup, Activations Advertising, Hypehouse Production Corp. and Delirium Manpower Services – should have put in place more effective measures to prevent drugs entering the festival site.

“Yet given all their occupational and professional standing, expertise, skill and experience […] they apathetically forgot the inclusion of illegal drugs or its possible inroads during the event,” it reads.

Closeup spokesman Ed Sunico said in a statement: “Our management team is deeply saddened by the events that took place at the Forever Summer music festival last year. We acted in good faith in the staging of the event and will continue to cooperate in all the upcoming proceedings.”


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Forever Summer victim had taken legal highs

One of the five people who died at the Forever Summer festival in Manila on 21 May had taken MDMA-like designer drugs, a postmortem examination has revealed.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed traces of two synthetic stimulants – MDMA methylene homolog and methylenedioxycathinone, the latter of which is found in the khat plant – both are which are ‘legal highs’ yet to be banned in the Philippines.

It has not been disclosed which victim is confirmed to have taken the stimulants.

The National Bureau of Investigation confirmed traces of two synthetic stimulants yet to be banned in the Philippines

The NIB is still investigating reports that the five had taken ‘green amore’ – a mix of MDMA and shabu, or methamphetamine (‘crystal meth’) – while at the festival. NIB doctor Wilfredo Tierra, who carried out the postmortems on Bianca Fontejon, 18, and Lance Garcia, 36, says both victims’ hearts were black and that they had watery fluid in their internal organs, likely as a result of an adverse reaction to drugs.

It has since arrested five people in connection with supply of drugs at the event.

IQ earlier this week reported on the proliferation of unregulated legal highs in Europe: In 2015, 98 new substances were detected in the EU for the first time, bringing the number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) monitored to more than 560, of which 70% were detected in the last five years.

Eight die in deadly weekend in Manila and Nenzing

At least eight people lost their lives at concerts over the weekend in a deadly two days in live music.

There were five deaths at Forever Summer, an open-air dance music event in Manila headlined by Belgian DJs Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. According to Pasay City police, the five – named as Filipinos Ariel Leal (22), Lance Garcia (36), Ken Migawa and Bianca Fontejon (both 18) and American Eric Anthony Miller (33) –were “rushed one by one” to hospital after experiencing “hard breathing” and then collapsing during the concert.

Wilfredo Esquivel Tierra, who performed the postmortem on Fontejon and Garcia, said the two died of “massive heart attacks”. It is still unclear what caused the heart attacks, although the Manila Bulletin says spiked drinks may have been to blame.

The five fatalities at Forever Summer on Saturday bring the total death toll for electronic dance music (EDM) festivals up to 22 in a 12-month period.

Promoter Closeup said it is “deeply saddened by the events”. “We regret that despite the very stringent measures and precautions we have put in place to ensure the security of all attendees involved, this incident still transpired,” it said in a statement. “As such, strict protocols were followed to immediately provide medical assistance, as well as rush all those involved to the nearest hospital where they [could] receive emergency care.”

The five fatalities at Forever Summer bring the total death toll for EDM festivals up to 22 in a 12-month period

It added that it is “fully cooperating with the authorities in the ongoing police investigations”.

Two people also died in Nenzing, Austria, yesterday when a gunman fired in the crowd at a rock concert hosted by motorcycle club The Lords. According to local police, the perpetrator, a 27-year-old suspected neo-Nazi named as ‘Gregor S.’, went on the rampage after arguing loudly with a woman in a car park, then returned to his car and shot himself.

A further 11 people were wounded in the shooting, reports Heute.

Willi Mernyi, chairman of the Mauthausen Committee, which works to combat “fascism, racism, neo-Nazism, chauvinism and antisemitism” in Austria, said: “How many deaths do we need in Austria until a national action plan against right-wing extremism is finally translated into action?”

Last month Austrian authorities launched an investigation into a concert by Hungarian Nazi punk band Indulat. Austria’s Prohibition Act (Verbotsgesetz) of 1947 prohibits any activity that promotes Nazi ideology, including use of its symbols, and criminalises Holocaust denial.