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P123.2-M rice shipment from Thailand intercepted

A rice shipment from Thailand worth P123.2 million that was illegally brought into the country was uncovered by the Bureau of Customs (BoC) inside a Vietnamese vessel docked in Talisay City, Cebu Monday.

Reports from BoC showed that the vessel, MV Kung Min was carrying 3,080 metric tons of Thai rice.

Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Cebu Officer-in-Charge Verne Enciso disclosed that a reliable informant provided an information on March 31 about the foreign vessel’s illegal unloading of cargoes in Pooc, Talisay.

It was also disclosed that the vessel did not undergo inspection at the Cebu International Port (CIP).

As soon as the illegal rice shipments were discovered, Cebu District Collector Elvira Cruz said they immediately issued a warrant of seizure and detention (WSD) against the shipment.

Through the WSD, the alleged rice consignees, whose names are withheld, will be summoned by the BoC for seizure and forfeiture proceedings.

Cruz said the failure to submit documents and permits before the vessel’s arrival constitutes “prima facie” evidence that they are trying to deceive the Philippine authorities.

Failure to submit pertinent documents will also allow the BoC to forfeit the rice and the vessel in favor of the government, and will be subject for a public auction.

If the rice will be auctioned, the BoC said, it can cost about P200 million. (BETHEENA KAE UNITE)

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