Smuggled gadgets, 15 undocumented Chinese nationals uncovered in Manila raid

Marje Pelayo   •   August 7, 2019   •   773

MANILA, Philippines – Operatives of the Bureau of Customs – Intelligence Group (BOC-IG) raided an electronics store in Binondo, Manila selling allegedly smuggled high-value gadgets.

Among the devices intercepted were Apple iPhones, iPads, Mi Brand and Samsung devices.

The owner of the establishment has until August 14 to present evidence of proper payment of duties and taxes of electronics.

Section 224 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) states that ”in the event that the interested party fails to produce such evidence within fifteen (15) days, the goods may be seized and subjected to forfeiture proceedings.”

Also during the raid, 15 undocumented Chinese nationals were identified and were immediately turned-over to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for documentation and processing.

According to the BI, nine of the said Chinese nationals entered the country as tourists who were working without the necessary permits.

Three of them, meanwhile, have no record of travel or of unknown status; two are holders of 9G (pre-arranged employment) visa and one has special working permit.

Deportation proceedings for the 15 Chinese nationals are underway.

The operation launched on July 31, 2019, was led by agents from the BOC Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) in collaboration with members of the Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force (JTF) – National Capital Region (NCR) and personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

BOC NAIA conducts stricter agri products inspection amid new swine flu

Maris Federez   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Custom (BOC) announced that its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has intercepted a total of 775.6 kilograms of meat and meat products without Sanitary & Phytosanitary clearances from January to June 2020.

In a statement released on Saturday (July 4), the BOC said the meat and meat products that they have confiscated include 268.2 kilograms of pork, 106.4 kilograms of beef, 298.2 kilograms of poultry, and 102 kilograms of other kinds of meat.

The BOC added these products arrived without permits and health clearance, and were brought in through NAIA from African Swine Fever (ASF) infected countries.

“All the items were turned over to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) for quarantine and immediate disposal to prevent the spread of the virus dangerous to local health and to the food industry,” the press release read.

It added that, with the emergence of a new strain of swine flu virus, the frontliners of the BOC NAIA who man the Passenger Area and Air Cargo Warehouses are on high alert against the possible entry of contaminated meat products.

“Customs NAIA has been consistent in protecting our local industry from any possible swine and agricultural epidemic and supports the directive of Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero to continuously monitor and safeguard the country’s borders,” the statement concluded. —/mbmf

DOF: P244-M worth of smuggled PPEs, medical supplies seized by Customs from March to May

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has confiscated P244-million worth of smuggled, unregistered or counterfeit personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies from March 25 to May 31, 2020, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Friday.

In a statement, the DOF said the seizure is part of the BOC’s efforts to stop the illegal importation, storage and hoarding of goods deemed essential to the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the BOC said that while it has released various regulations to facilitate and speed up the process of importing PPEs and other medical supplies, some unscrupulous traders have taken advantage of the coronavirus-induced crisis to smuggle such items into the country.

In his report, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said he has issued 10 Letters of Authority covering the inspection of persons and premises suspected of selling or storing smuggled and/or unregistered medicines and equipment from March 25 to May 31 this year.

“Moreover, profiling/targeting of imported shipments suspected to contain contraband and other smuggled articles were intensified. As a result a total of P244.4 million-worth of smuggled/counterfeit/unregistered PPE and medicines were seized by the Bureau,” Guerrero added.

Last May 1, various PPEs, and P70-million worth of Chinese medicines that supposedly cure COVID-19 were seized by the BOC in a warehouse in Singalong, Manila.

Guerrero said in his report that the medicines, which were contained in about 360 boxes, were not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The BOC chief also said that they have seized other medical supplies in various operations including the following:

  • P5 million worth of masks, gloves, goggles, alcohol, thermal scanners, test tubes and syringes under the name of Philmed Dynasty Supplies Corp. based in Binondo, Manila;
  • An estimated P30 million-worth of various PPEs, such as gloves, masks, and googles under the name of ELJ1 Medical Shop based in Sta. Cruz, Manila; and
  • An estimated P9 million-worth of various PPEs, such as gloves, masks, goggles from the Medical Outlet based in Rizal Avenue, Manila.
  • An estimated P80 million-worth of various PPEs, such as gloves, masks, goggles, medicines, and foodstuffs from an establishment located at HK Sun Plaza, Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City.
  • An estimated P400,000-worth of various medical supplies and medicines from Ton Ren Tang Chinese Medication, Binondo, Manila.
  • An estimated P50 million-worth of various medical equipment and supplies from Omnibus Biomedical Systems.

“The cases involving these smuggled or unregistered products are now the subject of forfeiture proceedings by the BOC before the law division of the Manila International Container Port (MICP),” Guerrero said.

Aside from these items, the BOC also reported that it seized 2.2 kilograms of imported Chinese medicines without FDA clearance last April 27, and has initiated the filing of appropriate charges against their importers and consignees.

Another five boxes of Chinese medicines containing 48,000 medicinal tablets and bundled with 238 master cases of assorted imported cigarettes; 4 drums of toluene-2.4 diisocyanate; 2 drums of propylene glycol; 2 drums of glycerol-propoxylate-block-ethoxylate; 2 drums of vacuum pump oil; 2 drums of paraffin oil; 2 drums of power steering fluid; 1 drum of sodium hypochlorite; and 2 drums of siloxane were confiscated from a warehouse in Valenzuela City last April 30.

Guerrero said these were seized and taken into custody by the BOC for failure of the owner to present the required import documents for these items.

Undeclared watches, commercial goods worth P1.1-M seized at NAIA – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Various branded watches and other commercial goods estimated to worth P1.1 million were seized at the port of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Thursday.

In a statement, the BOC said the undeclared items were confiscated on June 29. These were part of a consolidated shipment from the United States of America labeled as “personal effects.”

The seized goods include branded watches such as Michael Kors, Fossils, Anne Klein, Charriol, Invicta, Kate Spade, Diesel and Tommy, as well as bags, wallets, shoes — all in commercial quantity, the bureau said.

The items were intercepted after the shipment underwent X-Ray inspection.

The BOC-NAIA said it has issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the confiscated goods for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The bureau added the case records shall also be referred to the Bureau’s Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) for a possible criminal complaint against the personalities behind the foiled smuggling attempt.

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