Customs seize undeclared $347,000 from Korean woman


At least US$347,000 in hundred dollar bill was confiscated from a South Korean female passenger that she hid inside three boxes of three-in-one coffee upon arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 1 on Wednesday.

Kim Minjung who just arrived on board a Korean Airlines flight KE 621 was surprised when Customs supervisor on-duty Carol Dofitas and Customs Enforcement and Security Service Col. Marlon Alameda informed her that is against the Philippine Central Bank circular to bring cash that is exceeding US$10,000, or its equivalent to in any foreign or local currencies.

According to Dofitas, Minjung was queuing before the customs lane manned by examiner Paula Manlangit. When her turn came, she was asked by Manlangit if she have something to declare which the woman replied, “nothing.”

Manlangit demanded Minjung to open her carry-on bag as a requirement for rigid examination. When it opened, the examiner later found three boxes of Maxim Mocha Gold Mix (3-in-1 Coffee) with tapes on both sides.

The Customs authorities later discovered wads of US dollars totaling $357,000 inside the three boxes.

Newly-installed Customs District III Nerza Rebustes said that US$10,000 has been returned to Minjung as allowed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas while the rest of the money will be seized in favor of the Philippine government.

According to Central Bank regulation, it only allows every departing/arriving passenger to bring in and out $10,000 and its equivalent.

Minjung told Customs officials that the money was intended to buy house and lot in Manila. BENJIE L. VERGARA


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