MANILA, Philippines- Several units of Macbook laptops, Apple iPhones, Samsung Galaxy S7 series phones, Zenfone 3 Ultra phones, Nexus GPs phones, Sony Xperia phones, Canon cameras, audio accessories, tablets and security gadgets were seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) from the depot of online shop Kim Store in Lakandula Street, Tondo, Manila on Monday, January 30.
The said raid was conducted after the BOC received intelligence reports that the online shop sells smuggled imported high-end communication gadgets. Staff of the Kim Store failed to provide documents for the imported gadgets.
Neil Estrella, Director of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, said in a statement: “There are plenty of cases wherein high-end communication and electronic gadgets are smuggled into the country through misdeclaration schemes – a top form of smuggling – used by smugglers to defraud and avoid paying correct duties and taxes to the government.”
The seized gadgets are now padlocked in the Kim Store warehouse guarded by agents of Customs Intelligence and Investigation (CIIS) operating unit.
While reports claimed that the popular online gadget store is owned by a Filipino-Chinese businessman identified as “Francis”, a video report by PLDT Public Affairs revealed that Kim Lato, a young entrepreneur who launched the online business while taking up Marketing Management at De La Salle University, actually owns Kim Store.
Meanwhile, Kim Store’s Facebook page didn’t mention the raid but posted a notice of delay of transactions due to “unforeseen need for system upgrade”. The management of Kim Store is yet to release a statement about the issue.
“Due to the unforeseen need for system upgrade, please expect a delay with transactions made this week. Rest assured that we will answer all inquiries and we’ll try to assist you the soonest – once our system is already stable,” Kim Store wrote on Facebook.