BOC runs after traders of various fake products and importer of smuggled cigarettes

MANILA CITY – After filing cases against smugglers of agricultural products and ukay-ukay last week, the Bureau of Customs has again filed five criminal cases on August 9 in line with the strict directive of Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to intensify drive against smugglers and violators of customs laws.

Four of the criminal cases filed involve the owners and operators of four warehouses which were the subject of Letters of Authority previously issued by Commissioner Lapeña.

Charged is a certain Justine Lim, the operator of the warehouse located at Tondo, Manila where various fake cosmetic products and fake perfumes (counterfeit versions of Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Polo Sport, Giorgio Armani, and Clinique Happy) were found upon inspection.

Also charged is a certain Erlinda D. Rico a.ka. Linda Chua, owner of the other three warehouses at Toctocan St., and Kanlaon St. in Quezon City, and Sta. Cruz, Manila where counterfeit Marlboro, Fortune, Mighty and Winston brand cigarettes, Silka products, Cetaphil, Knorr pork cubes, and Knorr Sinigang sa Sampaloc mix were discovered by customs agents.

The aggregate value of these fake products amounts to Two Hundred Six Million Eighty Three Thousand Six Hundred Fifty Thousand and Fifty Two Cents (Php206, 083,650.52)

If not for the timely discovery of these counterfeit products, these would have been released in the market posing a serious danger to health considering that the said products did not undergo the rigorous study and evaluation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Following the Bureau’s coordination with various brand owners, they have certified that the products found in the warehouses are all counterfeit versions of their brands.

Along with these cases, the Bureau filed a criminal charge against the owner of Al-Khong Trading, a certain Kaidar M. Ismael, and its licensed customs broker, Rowena Y. Palisoc, for unlawfully importing undeclared 540 reams of Indonesian Gudam Garam cigarettes with an aggregate value of more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000).

This is the fifth week in a row that the Bureau has filed criminal charges against suspected smugglers and violators of customs rules.

Two weeks ago, the Commissioner led the filing of five other criminal cases against various consignees and customs brokers found to have unlawfully imported, rice, garments, food stuff, used clothing and other goods into the country.

The cases filed show Lapena’s unrelenting determination to make individuals pay and suffer the consequences of the law for committing customs fraud.

“Our job to protect the borders of the country from smuggled goods does not stop at apprehension, I will make sure that all smugglers and perpetrators of customs fraud will face criminal charges and  be put into prison”, the Commissioner said. (Bureau of Customs – PIAD)