Six Chinese arrested in P18-M fake products

SIX CHINESE nationals were arrested yesterday morning by agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection (CIDG) XI for alleged counterfeit cigarette products worth P18 million during simultaneous raids conducted in their hideouts in various parts of the city.

 Chief Insp. Johana Mae Lagundi, CIDG XI operations chief, said the CIDG was aided by agents from the Buhangin and Sta. Ana police precincts in conducting the Oplan Mega Shopper operation against around 6 a.m. yesterday.

 Armed with 48 search warrants issued by Judge Retrina Fuentes of Regional Trial Court in Branch 10, agents conducted simultaneous raids in the six safe houses located in San Pedro Village in Buhangin, Rivera Village in Bajada, F. Bangoy, 6th Avenue in Agdao, and Sta. Ana Avenue.

 The operations resulted to the arrest of Yuquen Shi, said to be the owner of HBTT Marketing that owned the counterfeit products, and his five companions identified as Chunqin Shi, Lianzai Shi, Tianpei Shi, Jianqun Shi, and female Meiqun Shi.

 Lagundi said that they did not get any documents from the suspects except their passports.

 “We are still checking because, so far, what we only have from them is only passport,” Lagundi said adding that the suspect can’t speak English and they were waiting for the interpreter as of press time.

 The agents seized 800 boxes of alleged counterfeit cigarette products of PMFTC (Phillip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation), with an estimated value of P18 million.

 Lagundi said eight PMFTC brands were among the confiscated items.

 Also confiscated from them was one Nissan urban with plate number ABQ5224.

 The CIDG officers said they conducted month-long surveillance on the HBTT Marketing owner following the complaint of the PMFTC, which controls 90 percent of the cigarette market in the country.

 During the conduct of the investigation, authorities gathered that the suspects were just purchasing the counterfeit cigarettes as they are not manufacturing the products.

 “They are just only a third party here,” Lagundi said. “Their products are not directly coming from factory but they were purchasing it.”

 The suspects are now held at the detention facility of CIDG XI pending the filing of case for violation of RA 8293 (Comprehensive Law on the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines).

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