P50-M illicit cigarettes seized in Davao raid
Bureau of Customs authorities seized more than P50 million worth of contraband cigarettes from six different warehouses in Davao City, one of the biggest hauls since the implementation of the sin tax law in 2013.
Customs officials confiscated a total of 1,262,000 contraband cigarette packs with a street value of at least P50.48 million from the six warehouses belonging to two companies namely, HBTT Marketing and JCL, owned by a certain Yuequn Shi and Peter Chua, respectively.
HBTT warehouses yielded P12 million worth of fake cigarette products in a raid last year.
Both Shi and Chua still remain at large.
Most of the contraband shipments, including 1,229 cases of Two Moon cigarettes brands, 304 Mighty brands, 261 More, 109 Jackpot, 73 Philip Morris, 161 Mark, 121 Marvels, and 58 Marlboro are believed to have been smuggled from China.
Customs authorities acted on a directive by Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon after receiving persistent reports of smuggling activities in Davao City and nearby provinces, and pursuant to the provisions of Section 214 (b) of Republic Act No. 10863, also known as the “Customs Modernization and Tariff Act” enabling them to locate, search and seize warehouses and/or vessels used in smuggling products.
Filipino-owned tobacco manufacturer Mighty Corp. on Sunday filed criminal charges against several persons engaged in illicit tobacco trade.
Both suspects and warehouses are liable for violating Section 2530 of the Customs and Tariff Code for nonpayment of duties and taxes, as well as Section 155 (trademark infringement) in relation to Section 170 of Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
The suspects face fines and jail terms, authorities said.
Fake cigarettes have been flooding the market due to the huge profit margins they give to retailers.
This latest episode is part of a continuous stringent operation jointly pursued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue,
police, Customs and the National Bureau of Investigation to plug leakages in the sin tax law since its implementation three years ago.
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