The Bureau of Customs is investigating car showrooms in Quezon City and Pampanga in line with the government’s campaign to go after suspected smugglers of vehicles, especially luxury cars.
On Thursday, members of the Manila International Container Port - Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (MICP-CIIS) have inspected showrooms in Xavierville, Quezon City, and San Simon, Pampanga suspected to be storing smuggled luxury cars and other motor vehicles with an estimated value of P500 million.
The inspection was conducted by the MICP-CIIS led by its chief Alvin Enciso in close coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine Coast Guard following intelligence report that smuggled luxury cars were stored in the area.
The composite team proceeded to the showrooms armed with the Letter of Authority (LOA) signed and issued by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
The inspections resulted in the discovery of luxury cars such as Lamborghini and Ferrari, and motorcycles or big bikes such as Ducati.
Also found were several bulletproof sports utility vehicles, customized sports cars, trucks, boats, among others.
Enciso said all the motor vehicles were without appropriate importation documents.
The authorities gave the establishment owners 15 days to show proof of importation documents, or the goods will be subjected to seizure and forfeiture under Section 224 concerning Section 1113 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
In mid-June, the same team seized P16 million worth of smuggled luxury vehicles, including a white 2021 Land Cruiser; a red 2016 Nissan GTR, and black 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe.
Enciso said the series of operations is in line with the bureau’s campaign dubbed “Coplan Tsekot” aimed to prevent the illegal importation of vehicles into the country.
“We will continue to monitor these shipments because there has been a series of smuggled vehicles trying to come into the country. That has been evident this past month alone,” he said.
Enciso was referring to the two previous alerted shipments that resulted in the seizure of luxury vehicles worth P30 million on May 26 and June 2. These were consigned to JLFDM Consumer Goods Trading.
“It turned out that these shipments were positive for the presence of these luxury cars,” he said.
Commissioner Guerrero lauded the work by the CIIS and MICP after they foiled three attempted car smuggling activities in just three weeks alone.
“We have put everything in place to catch these smugglers. We won’t be satisfied with what we’ve achieved and won’t stop exerting more efforts in our campaign until the message is clear to them,” he said.
Guerrero formed the Coplan Tsekot late last year and directed the MICP-CIIS team to go after unscrupulous traders behind the smuggling of vehicles, especially luxury cars.
The campaign started following the seizure of a P33-million worth McLaren 620R supercar in Manila South Harbor in August. The shipment arrived at the Port of Manila on July 16, 2020. It was declared as a brand new Porsche Cayman sports car in an attempt to avoid the payment of the appropriate duties and taxes.
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