BOC seizes P1 billion fake cigarettes in Nueva Ecija
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - January 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Around P1 billion worth of counterfeit cigarettes were seized in a raid on a warehouse in Nueva Ecija on Friday.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) said three boxes of fake Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) stamps, cigarette-making machines, a filter-making machine, a mixer, a dryer and raw materials were also recovered in the warehouse in Barangay Sinipit, Cabiao.  

At least 20 Chinese citizens and 100 Filipinos suspected to be behind the manufacture of counterfeit cigarettes were arrested.

Personnel of a special unit of the Regional Intelligence Division, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Cabiao police and BOC conducted the raid.

The BOC said it is conducting an inventory of the recovered items.

An investigation to determine the charges to be filed against the suspects is ongoing.

In 2018, at least 17 Chinese citizens were arrested and counterfeit cigarettes bearing the brands Marvel, Fortune, Jackpot, Champion and Mighty as well as fake tax stamps and raw materials worth around P200 million were seized at a warehouse in Gapan, also in Nueva Ecija.

The BIR and BOC were directed to strengthen their campaign against illicit cigarette trading, which is seen to worsen with the increase in tobacco excise taxes.

The BOC created a a task force to strengthen its monitoring on the entry of smuggled and counterfeit goods.  – With Ric Sapnu

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