January 15th, 2014 Headsman
Lim Seng was a struggling restauranteur in the 1960s when he dove into the heroin business.
He wasn’t struggling much longer.
He quickly became the Walter White of Manila heroin production, exploiting ties to criminal syndicates in the Golden Triangle to churn out (by the early 1970s) 1.2 tons of smack. Ninety percent of it was exported to the United States. (.pdf source on Lim Seng’s criminal career)
The other 10% helped feed a burgeoning heroin addiction among Manila students, leading to a seminal 1972 anti-drug law under which Lim Seng was arrested days after martial law came down that September. He faced a military, rather than a civilian trial.
Naturally quite wealthy from his enterprise, he evidently believed up until the last moments that he could buy his way out of execution. Little did he understand that he had been ticketed to demonstrate the incipient dictatorship’s iron fist: thousands of civilian spectators crowded the ropeline of the rifle range to glimpse the garishly publicized ceremony, while others took in the radio broadcast or news footage.
Lim Seng was the first person executed by the Marcos regime for drug trafficking.
* Lim Seng was tried in December 1972, and some sources report this as his execution date. Contemporary newspaper accounts unambiguously confirm that the execution took place on January 15, 1973.
Also on this date
- 69: Galba, in the Year of the Four Emperors
- 1999: Recak Massacre
- 2000: Kasongo, child soldier
- 2009: A day in the death penalty around the world
- 1895: Charles Stokes, in the heart of darkness
- 1943: Sue Logue, George Logue and Clarence Bagwell
- Themed Set: The Spectacle of Private Execution in America