One Direction forced to pay drugs bond before Philippines concert

It comes after two members of the English-Irish boy band were seen purportedly smoking marijuana in a video that circulated online.

English-Irish pop boy band One Direction arrives at the Cannes festival palace, to take part in the NRJ Music awards ceremony on December 13, 2014. Lionel Cironneau, File/AP Photo
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MANILA // The Philippines is imposing an illegal drugs bond on two members of the boy band One Direction. The bureau of immigration has asked Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson to post bonds worth nearly US$5,000 (Dh18,365) each, which will be forfeited if they are caught using or promoting illegal drugs – even in an implied way – during a concert in Manila this weekend.

It follows a request by the local Anti-Drugs Advocate group to the bureau to strictly scrutinise the band’s concert permit following a video that circulated on the internet of Mr Malik and Mr Tomlinson purportedly smoking marijuana.

The two men are required to post a 200,000 pesos (Dh16,367) bond and a 20,000 pesos processing fee each through their producer.

The five-member English-Irish band will perform at the seaside Mall of Asia Concert Grounds as part of their On The Road Again tour.

“The condition is intended to protect the public interest should the band members commit any violation during their stay in the Philippines,” the bureau of immigration’s spokeswoman Elaine Tan said on Thursday.

She said the band would be prevented from performing if the producer failed to post the bond before the concert.

However, the producer went to the bureau on Thursday afternoon to post the bond and fee, said Christine Ching, a spokeswoman of Anti-Drugs Advocate.

The Philippine group is also awaiting a response to their petition asking a local court to direct government agencies to ensure that the band members are drug-free. It also urged the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to send officers to monitor the band.

The group is concerned about the popular band’s influence on Philippine youth, Ms Ching added.

She said the concert producers had expressed willingness to cooperate and give drug enforcers and Anti-Drugs Advocate access passes to allow them to monitor the band members.

* Associated Press