Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Task force looking for 11 luxury cars spirited out of Subic

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Task Force Subic is looking for 11 luxury cars which were smuggled out of this Freeport.

Earlier, five "hot luxury cars" were seized by operatives of Task Force Subic, Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Office of the President’s Task Force AntiSmuggling (TFAS) in a car showroom in Quezon City.

"We are still looking for 11 luxury cars that have been spirited out of the Subic Bay Freeport despite our seizure of five cars last Friday, Task Force Subic chief Gen. (ret.) Jose Calimlim said.

"This is certainly the biggest operation we ever had. We are after 16 high-end vehicles that are priced between R3 and R7 million each," he said.

He also said that the vehicles will be impounded in this Freeport where these were smuggled out.

Subic Customs Collector Marietta Zamoranos said that two Koreans — Tae Young Young So and Seng Jin — were involved in the smuggling of the high-end vehicles.

The first batch of hot cars were recovered at 6 a.m. last Friday morning at a showroom on Timog Ave. in Quezon City. Seized were one BMW 750Li, an Audi Quattro 4.2L, a Nissan Armada, a Mercedes Benz L-series, and a Chevrolet Corvette sports car, all brand-new.

Calimlim said that it appears that the vehicles had been consigned to the company operating the showroom and the owners of the company were not in any way connected with the group behind the smuggling.

He led the task force to two other showrooms on Timog Ave. and later to a car dealer on Meralco Ave. in Pasig City, but did not find any of the 11 other smuggled vehicles.

The Task Force Subic raiders escorted by Special Action Force troops led by Maj. Michael Bawayan Jr. left Subic in a convoy of eight vehicles and reached Metro Manila before 6 a.m.

Calimlim said that President Arroyo issued the seizure order after the ambassadors of the United States, Japan and Korea complained about the smuggling of the luxury vehicles. They said that smuggling is a blatant disregard of fair trading.

Calimlim said that the contrabands were smuggled out of Subic Bay Freeport last Jan. 21 while he was on leave.

He said that the smuggling syndicate was in cahoots with their Filipino partners.

Customs personnel led by Executive Director Alex Arcilla were still looking for two more Audis, two BMWs, two Cadillac Escalades, three Mercedes Benzes, two Nissan Infinitis, and two Mazda sports cars.

They were being supported by the Office of the President’s Task Force Anti-Smuggling (TFAS), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF).
By JONAS REYES - Manila Bulletin



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