Bureau of Customs (BOC) agents assigned at the Manila North Harbor have seized a shipment of frozen foods smuggled from Hong Kong and China worth an estimated P63 million.
Operatives of the Manila International Container Port – Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (MICP-CIIS) made the seizure after they received derogatory information about the arrival of four reefer vans containing prawn balls.
Each of these four containers is said to have an estimated P15,750,000 worth of suspected misdeclared goods.
“These four contained other frozen foods that the consignees did not declare in their manifest. I have personally expressed my confidence to the team, and thanked them for their relentless pursuit of these smugglers,” BOC Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz said.
“We are simply complying with the directive of our President to continue our drive against the smuggling of agricultural products and protecting our markets and the prices of our products,” he added.
Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy said the agency initially issued two Alert Orders (AOs) on Nov. 17 against Victory JM Enterprise OPC, the imported/exporter of two containers from Hong Kong, each with declared 25,000 kilograms of frozen prawn balls.
But upon inspection, the first container had frozen tofu, chicken paws, and boneless beef, while the second container also had frozen tofu, Vietnamese suckling pig, and beancurd skin.
Two other AOs against two containers from China consigned to the same company were issued on Nov. 18. These shipments were declared to have 2,900CT and 2,905CT of frozen prawn balls, respectively, but actually had frozen fish tofu and frozen beef cheek meat.
“These operations ensure that we are sending the right message to these smugglers—we are not going to back down. I encourage our team members to remain committed to this goal and use their experiences to be one step ahead of these people we want to put behind bars,” Uy said.
CIIS director Jeoffrey Tacio gave credit to the team that inspected the containers, lauding their commitment to stop such activities.
“We have been working double time since receiving the information about these containers. With prices of our goods going up, it is all the more important that we do our best to protect the borders and make sure that none of these smuggled products enter our markets,” he said.
The importer will face criminal charges in violation of Sec. 1400 (misdeclaration in goods declaration) in relation to Sec. 1113 (property subject to seizure and forfeiture) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
The MICP-CIIS had recommended for the issuance of a warrant of seizure and detention (WSD).