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NBI nabs 3 Chinese for overpriced thermal guns, 4 others for shoddy alcohol

/ 05:57 PM March 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have arrested seven individuals, including three Chinese, in a series of operations against the sale of overpriced and substandard medical items.

NBI officer-in-charge Eric Distor identified the foreigners as Li Chunyang, Zhang Zhibin, and Lu Youjun, while the four other suspects are named as Dawn Cesista Gabayron, David Lianzon Almo Jr., Victor Rulloda Rugas, and Mark Jhairrous Ferry Catigday.

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According to Distor, the NBI Special Action Unit (SAU) received information that the Chinese suspects have been selling thermal scanners for a high price of P6,000 each when the original price of such an item only ranges from P500 to P1,035 each in the local market.

An agent who pretended as a buyer ordered 50 pieces of thermal scanners for a total price of P300,000 for an entrapment operation. NBI operatives proceeded to the meet-up place outside a hotel along Benavidez Street in Binondo, Manila, on March 24 and later arrested the suspect after they handed out the items to the operative.

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Meanwhile, Distor said the four Filipino suspects were arrested in separate operations on March 21.

He said the NBI Cybercrime Division (CCD) also received a report about online sellers of overpriced and substandard alcohol products and face masks. He said NBI eventually learned of a social media account selling unbranded, self-manufactured and scented alcohol products at P149 per 500 ml bottle containing 500 milliliters of (isopropyl alcohol) when it should be sold only for P61 to P74.25 under the current price ceiling.

NBI-CCD agents then ordered 20 bottles of alcohol, which the seller said should be picked up in front of the Paco Catholic Church in Manila.

Gabayron and Almo, who allegedly delivered the items, were then arrested in the operation. The two also failed to show any business registration or any permit to manufacture or sell alcohol, according to the NBI chief.

He added that NBI agents also learned that the two have pending orders from two direct suppliers, prompting them to hatch the follow-up entrapment operations. Distor said Rugas was arrested in Pedro Gil, Manila, after delivering 10 gallons of alcohol worth P6,500, while Catigday was arrested along United Nations Avenue in Ermita, Manila, for delivering 10 gallons of alcohol for P7,500.

Cases for violation of the Price Act and the Consumer Act of the Philippines were filed against the suspects.

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