MANILA Customs authorities arrested five Chinese nationals and a Filipino on Thursday for their alleged involvement in the manufacturing of fake cigarettes.
Armed with a Letter of Authority, the team, together with the local police and officials from the local government unit as well as the brand owner representatives from Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing, Inc. and Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) inspected the warehouse/facility located at Michel Printing Services, Maysan Road corner A. Cantillon Street, Valenzuela City for possible violation of Customs laws, rules, and regulations.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) identified the foreigners as Kevin Tan, Alex Chan, James Sy, Tin Fu, and one alias Tonyo, as well as one Filipino identified as Michael Jamora.
Aside from the six individuals, authorities have confiscated machines used for printing fake cigarette labels/packaging.
Found inside the warehouse were illegally imported printing machines, cutting machines used for printing unauthorized cigarette pack labels and carton labels bearing the brands Fortune, Mark, More and Jackpot trademarks.
The pack labels and carton labels, otherwise known as hinge lid blanks, were examined by the representatives from PMFTC Inc. and confirmed that the same were fake and do not bear the characteristics of the original/genuine Fortune, Mark, More and Jackpot hinge lid blanks.
A criminal case was filed against the arrested suspects for violation of Republic Act 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, and pertinent provisions of RA 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
The arrest was made by the combined forces from Enforcement & Security Service (ESS), Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, Bureau's Action Team Against Smugglers, Philippine Coast Guard � Special Operation Group, and Customs Examiners.
The anti-smuggling operation was conducted after BOC received derogatory information that a certain warehouse in the said area might be involved in smuggling of fake cigarette labels/packaging.
The arrested individuals are now detained at the ESS-Port of Manila District Office. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency