16 Chinese among 50 charged for stealing cigarette makers seized by customs in Ecija
GAPAN CITY – The Gapan police on Thursday charged 50 people, 16 of them Chinese nationals, for the October 5 theft of cigarette-making equipment, which were seized in an August 17 raid by the Bureau of Customs, a belated report said on Friday.
The complaint filed with the Gapan prosecutor’s office identified only two Chinese suspects – Zheng Man Hu and Yi Fa Ming, whose registered enterprise in Barangay (village) Pambuan was shut down by a BOC team led by the agency’s former commissioner Isidro Lapeña.
Zheng and Yi have been previously charged for violating Sec. 1419 of Republic Act No. 10863 (the Customs and Modernization and Tariff Act).
It was not clear whether all 50 have been taken into police custody when the complaint was filed.
BOC had requested security personnel at the compound of the Japan Tobacco Inc. to guard the equipment, police said.
But the group of Chinese nationals and 34 Filipinos showed up in six 10-wheeler trucks at 2:40 p.m. to take the machines, according to the police complaint, citing the testimony of James Lagasca, Japan Tobacco security supervisor.
The group brandished documents supposedly allowing them to take the equipment.
When the security guards refused, the group left. But the Chinese nationals returned “with high-caliber firearms” and took all the cigarette-making machines at 7:50 p.m. The guards alerted BOC about the theft.
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