Millions-worth of smuggled gadgets seized in Kimstore warehouse raid

MANILA, Philippines - High-end gadgets worth millions of pesos reportedly smuggled into the country were seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) from the warehouse of online shop Kimstore in Tondo, Manila on Monday, January 30.

smuggled gadgets seized in Kim Store warehouse raid

According to Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, the BOC previously received intelligence reports that Kimstore was selling imported devices through suspicious importation schemes.

Intelligence Officer Joel Pinawin revealed the popular online gadget shop is owned by a certain “Francis,” a Filipino-Chinese businessman operating in Binondo.

Pinawin claried that they are yet to verify the real owners of Kimstore in the coming days.

“We are still validating some intelligence reports, and we will fully identify the real owners of Kim Store in the next few days,” Pinawin said.

According to, Kimstore is owned by Kim Lato, an online entrepreneur who started the business while she was still a sophomore student taking marketing management at De La Salle University.

During the raid, the staff of Kim Store’s warehouse were not able to present documents for the imported items to the Customs Intelligence and Investigation (CIIS) operating unit. This lead to the seizing of different brands and models of high-end electronic devices like iPhone 7 cellular phones, Macbook laptops, Samsung Galaxy S7 series phones, Nexus 6Ps phones, Zenfone 3 Ultra phones, Sony Xperia phones, Canon cameras, tablets and music players, audio accessories, and gadgets for safety and security.

The gadgets are currently padlocked in the Kimstore warehouse guarded by CIIS agents.

On Monday night, the Facebook page of Kimstore, which has over 1.5 million followers, said that they have an "unforeseen system upgrade" and added that there will be a delivery delay on ordered gadgets this week.

"Due to the unforeseen need for system upgrade,please expect a delay with transactions made this week.Kindly leave your contact # for the meantime so we can contact you immediately once our operation resumes.Thank you!"

CIIS Director Neil Estrella said in a press release: “There are plenty of cases that 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.”

Faeldon, a former Philippine Marine Captain who was among a group of officers who led the Oakwood mutiny in 2003, said the agency will often carry out raids to fight malpractice and other related crimes.

“BOC, under my watch, will often conduct raids in warehouses, storehouses, and depots, to combat the malpractice and related crimes, and finally jail perpetrators, once and for all,” Faeldon said.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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