SEIZED SUGAR: A Customs worker opens shipping containers loaded with sacks of sugar from Thailand, which were misdeclared as furniture at the Port of Manila yesterday.
Miguel de Guzman
P39-million smuggled sugar seized at Manila port
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - August 10, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) yesterday seized a shipment of imported sugar worth P39.37 million at the Port of Manila (POM).

The shipment, transported in 45 20-foot shipping containers and misdeclared as packaging materials, kitchen utensils and kraft paper, was confiscated after it was abandoned by the importer.

It was seized after POM District Collector Erastus Sandino Austria issued a Decree of Abandonment against the shipment over failure of the local importer to file the entry within the prescribed period. 

The containers, which arrived on separate dates in June and July, were shipped from Thailand by Hup Lee Trading and consigned to Red Star Rising Corp. in Binondo, Manila.

Records from the Account Management Office showed the company is owned by a certain Dante Lunar.

During inspection of the containers as part of the standard operating procedure, Customs examiners found 22,500 sacks of sugar in the 45 containers instead of the declared items.

Officials said the shipment violated Section 117 (regulated importation and exportation), Section 1400 (misdeclaration, misclassification, undervaluation in goods declaration) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act in relation to SRA-BOC Joint Memorandum Circular No. 4-2002.

SRA-BOC Joint Memorandum Circular No. 4-2002 provides that no imported sugar shall be released to the importer/ consignee without clearance from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

The BOC said Red Star also violated Republic Act 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.

Section 3 of Republic Act No. 10845 considers the smuggling of sugar in excess of P1 million as economic sabotage.

The importer’s accreditation, which was approved in September last year, was immediately revoked upon orders of the Customs chief. 

“Our intensified border protection, timely issuance of alert orders on shipments with derogatory information, regular spot inspection and the strict measures in customs clearance may have caused the abandonment of this misdeclared sugar in fear of being caught,” Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña said.

Lapeña has ordered all ports to heighten border protection against all forms of smuggling as unscrupulous individuals are getting bolder in importing smuggled and contraband goods.

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