A Korean couple accused employees of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) in the Port of Clark in Pampanga of illegally withholding their goods and alleged that have of their personal belongings were missing.
The BoC, through Clark Collector Marites Martin, on Tuesday denied the allegations, saying customs employees were just doing their work in accordance with existing laws.
She added that the couple were treated with utmost courtesy and respect.
Woo SeonKyung, in a Facebook post that has gone viral, said that the Customs personnel demanded payment for the bag and cosmetic products that she bought at Incheon Korea Duty Free Shop and the Customs examiner made them wait for hours.
The Koreans also alleged that they lost a watch and cigarettes from their luggage. The couple arrived at the Clark International Airport on February 12 on board Jin Air Flight LJ023.
But the Clark Customs chief dismissed the allegations as baseless, saying the couple were only subjected to the customary arrival proceedings and were required to pay the corresponding duties and taxes on the goods and items they were bringing in.
“As a matter of procedure, Miss SeonKyung had to pass through the Customs Arrival Area to determine if she had with her any taxable items. When she was asked as to the value of the bag and cosmetic products she was carrying, she presented a receipt with a total amount of $677.00,” Martin said.
“The Customs examiner on duty, Ramon Mindanao, showed her the amount of customs duties and taxes due was P6,941.00 based on the rate of duty, value-added tax, and customs documentary stamp,” Martin added.
But Martin said SeonKyung refused to pay duties and taxes even as it was explained to her that the value of the bag and cosmetic products exceeded the P10,000 limit, hence would not qualify for tax free importation.
She added that the Korean was also informed of the BoC’s mandate to impose and collect lawful duties and taxes on importable goods unless these are tax and duty free.
“In compliance with Customs procedures, the bag and the cosmetic products were held and a Held Baggage Receipt was issued but SeonKyung refused to sign the (green) copy of the receipt,” she said.
Martin denied the Korean couple’s claim that the Customs exminer made them wait for hours, pointing out that they had been told earlier that the items would be released only upon payment of duties and taxes.
“As to the alleged lost watch and electronic cigarettes, this is under the watch of the Office for Transportation Security of the Department of Transportation and we highly recommend reviewing the CCTV footage in order to find out what really happened to the alleged missing items,” she ‘said.