Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Smuggling of 409 used vehicles out of Subic foiled

THE presidential anti-smuggling group has foiled an attempt to smuggle some 409 second-hand vehicles worth more than P200 million out of the Subic free port zone.

Group head undersecretary Antonio Villar Jr. said a Customs official in Subic yesterday tried to facilitate the release of the vehicles, which included Korean and Japanese models Delica and Pajero.

“It is legal to import vehicles inside the free port, but when you bring these vehicles out of the free port, then that is smuggling,” Villar said in a telephone interview.

He said Customs deputy collector Erol Albano signed the release orders for the used vehicles, saying they were to be brought to Hong Kong aboard m/v Han Lord.

“He does not have the authority to sign those papers. It is only the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority that can do that, and they have to get our approval first,” Villar said.

“When we contacted Starwin Trading Co., the consignee in Hong Kong, they denied the shipment, so we suspect these vehicles will be brought to other areas within the country—probably in Cagayan [Port Irene]. We will use this as basis to file appropriate charges against Albano,” he said.

Villar said a Pakistani locator based in the free port zone, Peter Perouz, allegedly facilitated the processing of the documents for the vehicles for at least P90,000 a unit, while Albano reportedly charged P20,000 a unit.

Of the total number of vehicles, 221 were imported by Subic Shonan Corp., 59 by DCB Trading Inc., 15 by S.A.H. Platinum Inc., nine by Phil-Pan Ventures Inc., eight by Avira Export and Import Corp. and Lucky Dale Subic, and four by Northeast Freight Forwarders Inc. into the free port. Joyce Pangco Pañares - Manila Standard Today

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