JOINT operatives of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and National Bureau Investigation (NBI) on Thursday busted a counterfeiting syndicate specializing in high-end designer watches in a raid on its warehouse in Tondo, Manila.
Seized by the raiding team were 150,000 pieces of assorted counterfeit signature watches worth at least P2 billion.
Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina identified the warehouse owners as Jones Hernandez Sy, also known as Herbert Sy/Robert Sy/John Cruz Ang, and his wife Lily Desierto Sy.
The couple will be charged for violation of the Intellectual Property Rights Law.
As early as November last year, the NBI with Lee Bumgarner Inc (LBI), Markspro and other brand holders conducted surveillance activities on the warehouse.
An inspection conducted by brand representatives and US Homeland Security confirmed that the watches were all fake. They include brands like Omega, Rado, Tag, Tag Heuer, Breitling, Calvin Klein, Apple, Nike, Lacoste, Ice, Adidas, Swatch, G-Shock, Seiko, 511, Gucci, Polo, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Swiss, Ferrari, Techno Marine, Diesel, Lee, Boss, Puma and Guess.
“Initial investigation showed that the couple are primary players who import and supply fake watches. We found delivery records showing this warehouse served as a distribution hub for Manila, stretching as far as Cebu, Davao, Zamboanga and Agusan,” officer-on-case lawyer Terence Agustin, supervising agent for NBI-Intellectual Property Rights Department said.
Last month, the BOC also destroyed some P9.3 billion worth of counterfeit goods, including shirts, shoes, toys, electronic products and food seasoning.
In 2014 and 2015, the Philippines was removed from the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Watch List as a result of the holistic approach adopted and implemented by the national government in curbing counterfeiting and piracy. This approach included a strong inter- agency coordination at the national government level and enhanced public private partnership.