P5.4M ‘chop-chop’ vehicles seized in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 26 March) – Bureau of Customs personnel seized around P5.4-million worth of disassembled or “chop-chop” second-hand motor vehicles from Japan that were smuggled through the Makar port here.

BOC port collector Pendatun Alim said Wednesday they found the smuggled vehicles inside two 40-foot container vans that were separately unloaded here in January and February by cargo vessels from Japan.

He said the container vans, which were opened by BOC inspectors on Tuesday, yielded nine units of “completely knocked-down” used or second-hand sedans and vans.

Based on the shipping records or documents of the two container vans, Alim said their contents supposedly comprised 45 pieces of used replacement truck parts, specifically vehicle differential and components.

He said the shipments, which were unloaded at the Makar port on January 23 and February 7, originated from the Brother Motor Corp. in Japan.

They were consigned to the Algaba Trading, which has a listed address at Coko Bldg., 2550 Roxas Blvd. in Pasay City, he said.

Alim said the entry of the shipments were mainly illegal and in violation of provisions of Republic Act 1937 or the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.

He said it is also a “clear violation” of the provisions of Executive Order 156, which banned the importation of used or second-hand vehicles.

Alim said he immediately issued a warrant of seizure and detention for the illegal shipments, which were already scheduled to be shipped out of the Makar port when they were seized.

Earlier this month, local customs inspectors uncovered an illegal shipment of used cars also consigned to Algaba Trading.

The shipment contained “chop-chop” vehicles and parts that were valued at P3 million.

The business sector here lauded local BOC personnel for the seizure of the smuggled second-hand vehicles, which has become a major problem for legitimate car dealers in the area these past years.

Raymund Salangsang, vice president of the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said brand new car outlets in the city have been suffering from the “unfair” competition posed by used car dealers.

“If you notice, the market for used cars here has been expanding and it is directly competing with the legitimate car sales outlets,” he said.

Alim cautioned local residents against buying used or second-hand motor vehicles as these are not guaranteed safe to use.

Most of the smuggled second-hand motor vehicles are right-hand drives and may have some defects that could pose danger to their users later on, he added.