Home » Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals, Press Releases » 17 Chinese suspects arrested in raid on warehouse filled with bogus cigarettes

The Bureau of Customs raided the warehouse located on Valmonte Street, Barangay Pambuan, Gapan City, apprehended the Chinese nationals, and seized the fake cigarettes of assorted brands, together with six cigarette-making machines, cigarette raw materials, and fake Bureau of Internal Revenue tax stamps stacked inside three boxes. Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Customs.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) recently caught 17 Chinese nationals allegedly involved in making fake cigarettes and fake stamps worth millions of pesos in a warehouse in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija.

Following a three-week-long surveillance, BOC’s Enforcement and Security (ESS) raided the warehouse located on Valmonte Street, Barangay Pambuan, Gapan City and caught the foreigners and seized the fake cigarettes of assorted brands, together with six cigarette-making machines, cigarette raw materials, and fake Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) tax stamps stacked inside three boxes.

The raid was coordinated with the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Gapan City, office of the city mayor, and a product specialist from the Japan Tobacco Industry.

The raid stemmed from a directive, issued by Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña after receiving information from a reliable source, to inspect a warehouse owned by a Chinese national that was suspected to contain fake cigarettes as well as cigarette-making machines.

Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Customs.

Arrested were 16 males and one female of Chinese descent from Hu Bei, Fu Jian, An Hui, and Xi An, China for violating Section 155 (Remedies; Infringement) in relation to Section 170 (Penalties) of Republic Act (RA) 8293, otherwise known as the Philippine Intellectual Property Code. The arrested foreigners are now under the custody of the PNP Gapan City.

“We are still conducting follow-up investigation to confirm the identities of the suspects and the origin of the raw materials and cigarette-making machines,” Lapeña said in a press briefing on August 20.

“The owner still has 15 days from the date of inspection to produce evidence of payment on the imported items, otherwise, a warrant of seizure and detention will be issued by the Bureau,” he added.

According to Gapan City mayor Emerson Pascual during the same press briefing, the city government was not aware of the illegal activities happening inside the warehouse, which was concealed by a high concrete fence. BOC also noted that delivery vans go in and come out of the warehouse during night time, and go direct to sellers.

According to ESS director Yogi Filemon Ruiz, the estimated market value of the seized fake cigarettes, tax stamps, and machines is P200 million. The seizure in Gapan City is the first of its kind, according to Lapeña.

After inventory, the fake cigarettes and fake tax stamps will undergo outright seizure, and then condemnation.

Recently, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez ordered sister agencies BOC and BIR to intensify their anti-smuggling campaign against the proliferation of fake cigarettes as well as cigarette-making machines.

“These operations are in response to the call of the President and Finance Secretary Dominguez to intensify the anti-smuggling campaign,” Lapeña said.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

fourteen − 12 =