It seems smugglers are finding new ways of bringing 'undeclared' cars into the country. Unfortunately for them, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) got wind of their operation and was able to seize their assets at the Manila port.
According to Alvin Enciso, Chief of the port's Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), four sports cars were discovered hidden inside a shipment of used clothing (aka ukay-ukay) at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
Acting on derogatory information, the shipment was alerted and subjected to a 100% examination. Upon opening the shipping container, 40 bales of ukay-ukay were discovered that concealed the four vehicles. A Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) was immediately issued against the shipment for possible violation of Section 1400 of Republic Act 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
“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,” said Enciso.
The PLCO is a written order from the Customs commissioner or port district collector allowing the physical examination of a shipment and is issued before the actual release of the goods from BOC custody.
The smuggled vehicles consisted of a Porsche Boxster, a Mercedes-Benz SLK, and two Toyota MR-S sports cars which appear to have been disassembled for shipping. The vehicles, which were declared as auto spare parts, were consigned to a certain JLFDM Consumer Goods Trading which originated from Japan. The seized vehicles are estimated to have a combined worth of PHP 10 million.
With all four vehicles seized, these smuggled goods will likely end up being crushed to serve as a warning to smugglers. Just last February 2021, the BOC crushed 10 smuggled vehicles via a backhoe. The condemned vehicles comprised of both new and used models that include vehicles like a Bentley Continental GT, Mercedes-Benz W109, Toyota Land Cruiser LC76, and several Range Rovers.
Should the BOC continue to crush smuggled cars to deter would-be smugglers? Or should have they just auctioned off the cars and use the money raised from that to buy vaccines or important medical supplies amid the pandemic?