Philippines confiscates smuggled pork shipments
Philippine customs authorities last week seized $638,000 worth of frozen pork products at the Manila International Container Port, according to local news accounts.
Bureau of Customs officials said the pork came from China in 10 containers and were misdeclared as frozen fish, squid and mackerel. The shipments did not have import permits or clearance from the Bureau of Quarantine.
The shipments were scheduled for delivery to Hap Chan Trading and Management Enterprises, Merkez General Merchandise and Vonrik Trading. They arrived at the port on different dates aboard the vessels “Willi Rickmers,” “Philippine Star,” “Permai” and “SITC Yokohama.”
The Philippines bans the importation of all meat products from China due to the rise of foot-and-mouth disease and bird flu cases in that country.
Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales said the containers would be shipped back to China to spare the government the cost of disposal.
The foiled smuggling attempt was the third in two months involving 24 seized ocean containers.
In August, Philippine National Police seized $218,000 in smuggled port and chicken in five containers at South Harbor in the Port of Manila. In that incident, three customs agents were relieved from duty for failure to escort the shipment to the consignee’s warehouse for mandatory inspection.
Vonrik Trading was also cited last June for importing frozen pork cutlets worth $60,000 from China without a permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry, according to Manila Standard Today. Five customs officers were sacked for that incident and as well as allowing two containers of smuggled used clothes to enter the country from Hong Kong. That shipment was misdeclared as household tools consigned to Hangcor General Merchandise Corp. for distribution to retailers.
Two firms involved in the case, R.R. Pastor Customs Brokerage and J.V. International Customs Brokerage, were recommended for suspension, although it is not known whether final action was taken them.
Morales has ordered the inspection of all refrigerated containers to stop the smuggling of meat and prevent any outbreaks of disease.