Taiwanese boat crew faces smuggle raps
MANILA, Philippines–The government is expected to file smuggling charges against the Taiwanese skipper and six crew members of a wooden-hulled fishing boat caught last week by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) after it allegedly dropped off some 2,000 boxes of illegally imported cigarettes at the Currimao port in Ilocos Norte.
Commander Armand Balilo, PCG spokesman, said Sunday the command was “waiting for the Bureau of Customs’ disposition” on the smuggling case.
“The BOC will be the one to file charges against the captain, Chen Yon-ji, of the Taiwanese fishing boat and his crew, three of whom are also Taiwanese, while the other three are Indonesian nationals,” he told the Inquirer.
The Coast Guard “will continue to secure the vessel, with the markings CT-2489 and 2189 on the starboard and port sides, respectively,” said Balilo, also chief of the command’s public affairs office.
“The crew will not be allowed to leave the vessel,” he said.
The Taiwanese coast guard had tipped off the PCG about the fishing boat’s arrival on Wednesday at the Currimao port with a cargo of suspected smuggled cigarettes.
The illegally imported items—which included MM charcoal cigarettes from Europe, and Golden Bridge, PRC and Dubliss, all Chinese brands—had been off-loaded and were being moved to a waiting truck when Coast Guard personnel confiscated them, said PCG Chief Petty Officer Reynaldo Garcia.
The impounded vessel had docked at the Currimao port several times this year, Garcia said, in a report to Coast Guard headquarters in Manila.–Jerry E. Esplanada
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.