Customs officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 seized some 259 pieces of expensive jewelry valued at P15 million brought in by a Filipino traveler Saturday night.
Customs X-ray project supervisor Eric Macaombang identified the Filipino as Rosemarie Clemente of Tandang Sora, Quezon City who faced charges of smuggling for not declaring the pieces of jewelry in her possession.
Macaombang said that his group in coordination with the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service and the Customs police received information from their foreign counterpart that a certain Filipino will bring in expensive jewelry onboard a Tiger Air that will arrive from Hong Kong around 11:20 p.m. Saturday.
Macaombang said he alerted the Customs examiners on-duty and Customs police to intercept the cargo.
Clemente was asked by Customs examiners if she had “something to declare but she replied nothing.”
Customs examiners then asked Clemente to open her hand-carry luggage and found expensive items such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry inlaid with diamonds, pearls and precious stones. Her pieces of jewelry weighed a total of 2.1 kilos, Customs said.
Clemente had only one check-in luggage and two hand-carry items.
Clemente said that she went to Hong Kong to meet her fiancé who had a layover flight. She said she met a certain Lydia Cheung at the departure terminal and asked her to bring the trolley bag containing the pieces of jewelry back to Manila.
Clemente said that Cheung allegedly instructed her to meet another person in Manila to turn over the trolley bag. Clemente said she agreed on Cheung’s promise that she would receive a cellphone in exchange for the favor.
Customs said they would file a complaint on Monday before the Pasay City Prosecutors Office for smuggling while the jewelry had been placed in the BoC vault for safe keeping.