Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

P60M worth of smuggled phone cards seized

The anti-smuggling task force here Tuesday seized 200,000 pieces of Smart Buddy prepaid call and text cards worth P60 million.

The items, which were misdeclared as raw polyvinyl chloride, a chemical used in making tiles and plastics, were contained in 26 boxes. The items were flown in from Hong Kong by shipper Evannet Ltd. through international courier Federal Express (FedEx) last week.

Retired Gen. Jose Calimlim, task force chief, said the smuggled shipment was discovered after Bureau of Customs examiner Rico Reyes Jr. noticed a discrepancy in the declaration last week.

Marietta Zamoranos, Subic customs collector, immediately issued a warrant of seizure and detention of the items. She identified the consignee as Lora-Multi Resources, a trading company based in Makati City.

The boxes were declared to contain 470 kilograms of raw polyvinyl chloride but were found out to have prepaid cards costing P300 each.

"The declared customs value of the polyvinyl chloride was US$4,573 or about P260,282. This means the importer would have been assessed only P70,380 in customs duties and taxes," Calimlim said.

He said his team and representatives of Smart Communications Inc. would verify the authenticity of the cards.

Calimlim cited the cooperation shown by officials of FedEx to foil several smuggling attempts here.

In January, the task force also confiscated assorted pieces of jewelry, worth P15 million, which a suspected smuggling syndicate tried to bring into the country from Hong Kong through FedEx.

The pieces of jewelry, which weighed 22 kgs, were misdeclared as computer parts and discovered while task force officials conducted a random check of FedEx shipments.


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