Operatives of the Bureau of Customs have seized on two separate occassions various counterfeit products in Pasay City and the provinces of Bulacan and Pangasinan totalling P775 million.

Shoes, clothing items

On Tuesday, 8 November, an operation was conducted in 9 warehouses in Pasay City, wherein P100 million worth of highly-end counterfeit shoes and clothing items were seized by Customs authorities.

Officials and personnel of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), BOC Special Studies and Project Development Committee (SSPDC), and Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD) led the inspection of warehouses.

The team found huge stash of counterfeit items of brands such as Nike, Adidas, lacoste, Albercombie, Fitch, Tribal, Havaianas, Crocs, Sandugo, Adidas, Nike, Sofia the First, Winnie the Pooh, Hermes, Jag, Hello Kitty, RRJ, Levi’s, Snoopy, Lakers, Dickies, Gap, Giordano, New Balance, Bench, Fubu, Von Dutch, Mickey Mouse, Hollister, Under Armor products.

No arrest was made, as the warehouse owners were not in the premises when the raids were conducted.

Tobacco, tax stamps

Meanwhile, on Friday, 18 November, hundreds of boxes of counterfeit cigarettes with an estimated street value of P500 million, including fake Bureau of Internal revenue (BIR) tax stamps worth P175 million, were confiscated in separate raids in warehouses in Bulacan and Pangasinan.

BOC authorities and provincial officials arrested 7 occupants in the warehouse in Marilao, Bulacan and 24 Chinese alien workers in Villasis, Pangasinan.

Found inside the Bulcana warehouse are volumes/packages of assorted cigarette materials such as, but not limited to, cigarette filter, dried tobacco, glue, and cigarette packaging materials which are used in manufacturing cigarettes. Finished cigarette products found and confiscated were imitations of cigarette brands Marlboro, Fortune, jackpot, Skag and Farstar.

Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) Inc. confirmed that the samples obtained from the confiscated items were not produced locally by or with permission of Philip Morris International, and are therefore counterfeit.

Also, found in the Pangasinan warehouse were contrabands that include 11 units cigarette making/packaging machines, 1,453 sacks Cut-filter, 27 containers menthol solution, 1,149 mastercases assorted brands cigarettes, 22 trays filter, 378 rolls inner liner, 469 rolls clear wrap, 88 pales glue, 1,251 packs cigarette brand soft labels, 4 units air compressor, 3, 244 bundles assorted master cases, and 2,173 reams of counterfeit BIR tax stamps.

Every year, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) loses an estimated P3 billion excise tax from counterfeit tax stamps.

“The BOC’s capture of 11 manufacturing machines that were used by the syndicate to produce 250 cases of counterfeit cigarettes daily and feared sold in both local and international markets, with the fake BIR tax stamps, has effectively stopped huge government losses, in billions of pesos in excise taxes, annually,” Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said.

The 24 undocumented foreign nationals found in Pangasinan were turned over to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, and subsequently turned over to Alien Custodian Office in Poro Point, LA Union.

One Jason Li, son of Marilao warehouse owner Tony Li was also arrested and was turned over to PNP Marilao for further investigation and processing.

The seized counterfeit products and fake BIR stamps are now at a BOC security warehouse in South Harbor, Manila for safekeeping.

Commissioner Faeldon said that the raids were a continuation of their operations that started two weeks ago in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City, wherein BOC agents seized P88 million worth of counterfeit cigarettes. ###