Luxury car smugglers reuse 'ukay-ukay' trick, but BOC has their number

Published June 3, 2021, 2:41 PM

by Betheena Unite

Another three smuggled luxury cars hidden behind bales of used clothing or “ukay-ukay” have been discovered by Bureau of Customs (BOC) agents at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), the agency said Thursday, June 3.

DEJA VU– Three smuggled luxury vehicles hidden behind “ukay-ukay” were intercepted at the Manila International Container Port on June 2, 2021. The importer used this same trick last month on another batch of smuggled cars. (Photo courtesy of the BOC-CIIS)

A white Ferrari Scuderia 430, a gray Mercedes Benz E220, and a blue Mercedes Benz SLK 55 worth P20 million were uncovered from the shipment on June 2.

The shipment was consigned to JLFDM Consumer Goods Trading, the same importer who tried to bring in P10 million worth of Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Toyota sports cars using the same gimmick with ukay-ukay last May 26.

“We’ve been on the lookout for containers consigned to this particular company. Prior to the arrival, we already knew the same modus of hiding the vehicles behind bales of ukay-ukay clothing. We had monitored the shipment before it left the port of origin,” said Alvin Enciso, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Manila International Container Port (CIIS-MICP).

At least 33 bales of used clothing were placed at the threshold of the container to block the view on the cars.

Enciso said the inspectors found plywoods behind the bales to keep them from falling into the motor vehicles hidden at the far end of the container.

The shipment was declared to contain used truck parts and other accessories.

The CIIS chief said their operation dubbed “Coplan Tsekot” is aimed at stopping the entry of smuggled vehicles into the country’s ports.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero chided the smugglers for using the same trick twice.

“This is the second time in a month that we discovered the same modus. We are going to hit hard on these smugglers for not stopping their illegal activities,” Guerrero said.

A warrant of seizure and detention (WSD) was already issued by MICP District Collector Romeo Rosales against the shipment for possible violation of Section 1400 of Republic Act (RA) No.10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).