Eight Chinese nationals arrested during a raid in Bulacan on May 16 risk facing charges of serious illegal detention, human trafficking, and violation of intellectual property code for allegedly operating an illegal cigarette factory, official sources said Saturday.
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GMA's Balitanghali's report, beamed nationwide, said agents from the National Bureau of Investigation also found inside the facility in Marilao town a re-packing machine and several bogus tax stamps.
The police director of the province, Col. Chito Bersaluna, said the joint NBI-police raid was done at the Green Miles Compound in Marilao's Barangay Patubig, where law enforcement authorities confiscated up to P6 billion worth of fake cigarettes.
Bersaluna told reporters the raiders nabbed the still unidentified Chinese believed to be the employers of 87 workers allegedly held and forced to manufacture fake cigarettes.
There was no immediately available statement from the suspects.
The NBI agents said the 87—all from Mindanao—had been sent home to their provinces.
According to the sources, the joint raid was conducted after authorities received information from one of the workers who managed to escape that workers were being detained and forced to work.
Police officials said many of the workers—the exact number was not disclosed—had been under forced labor already for five months.
Sources said the raiders found inside the warehouse finished and unfinished cigarette products, including machines being used to manufacture cigarettes.
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