'Ukay-ukay' used to hide four smuggled luxury sports cars inside container van

Published May 27, 2021, 12:40 PM

by Betheena Unite

Four smuggled luxury sports cars were found hidden behind bales of used clothing or “ukay-ukay” in a cargo from Japan at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

LUXURIOUS CATCH — This Mercedes Benz SLK sports car was among the four luxury vehicles uncovered by BOC agents from a shipment from Japan on May 26, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the BOC)

A Porsche Boxster, a Mercedes Benz SLK, and two Toyota MR-S were discovered in the shipment during an inspection Wednesday, May 26, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Thursday, May 27.

The smuggled vehicles–valued at P10 million–were consigned to JLFDM Consumer Goods Trading.

“We received derogatory information on the shipment before it arrived in our port. That was the basis of the request for PLCO (Pre Lodgment Control Order), so it is easier for us to inspect the shipment once it arrives,” Alvin Enciso, chief of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS)-MICP, said.

Enciso noted that the PLCO is issued before the actual release of the goods from BOC custody. It is a written order from the BOC commissioner or port district collector that allows the physical examination of the shipment.

They received the information on May 14 and requested for the issuance of the PLCO from MICP District Collector Romeo Rosales. The vessel arrived on Monday, May 24.

Around 40 bales of ukay-ukay were used to conceal the four vehicles. The ukay-ukay was placed near the threshold of the container van to cover the luxury cars, the CIIS chief said.

“Clearly, there was an intention to not declare these items. This is something that we have to be extra watchful about,” the official added.

A warrant of seizure and detention (WSD) will be issued against the shipment for possible violation of Section 1400 of Republic Act (RA) 10863 or otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the operation is part of the agency’s anti-smuggling campaign which aims to apprehend smugglers of luxury vehicles in the country.

“The message is we will not stop. We’ll continue manning the borders, apprehending smuggling operations, and enforcing the country’s laws. Even the pandemic has not slowed us down,” Guerrero said.