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4 aliens, 200 workers held in illegal cigarette factory


Police and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officers rounded up four foreigners and 200 Filipino workers when they raided last Friday a warehouse being used a factory of fake cigarettes in Barangay Palattao, Naguillan, Isabela, authorities reported Sunday.

Police identified the arrested foreigners as Wu Jia Jun, 26; Steven Tan, 31; Chen Qong Gong, 37; and We Yao Mei, 25. They introduced themselves as Koreans but probers suspect they were Chinese nationals.

They will be charged for violation of Republic Act 8293 (The Intellectual Property Code, Customs Modernization Tariff Act), National Internal Revenue Code, and Republic Act 11332 (Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases).

Bureau of Customs (BoC) agents arrived at the site Saturday and requested permission from the BIR Regional Office and Isabela Police to bring the suspects to Manila for presentation.

Armed with a mission order, BIR and police operatives inspected Friday night the Lucky Triple 8 Rice Mill in Barangay Palattao, where they caught the workers hauling fake cigarettes.

The raiding teams found out that the factory was being manned by four foreign nationals and around 200 workers from Visayas and Mindanao.

The BoC said fake cigarettes, raw materials and machines used in manufacturing counterfeit cigarettes worth P1.3 billion were found in the warehouse.

As of Sunday, BIR personnel headed by lawyer Nasrollah B. Conding and other officers of concerned government agencies were still conducting inspection and inventory at the site. (Liezle Basa Inigo)