Two tobacco firms to sue Chinese national over fake cigarettes

By Felipe V. Celino

ROXAS CITY, Capiz – Two big tobacco companies will stand as nominal complainants against a Chinese national who was caught keeping and selling fake cigarettes last week.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Palomo, Roxas Component City Police Station chief, said representatives from Japan Tobacco Inc and Philip Morris will be coming over here to file charges against Li Qing Zong.

Palomo said the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) of the Police Regional Office based in Iloilo City will lead the filing of charges against Li for violation of Republic Act 8293 or Intellectual Property Law through an inquest proceeding.

More than P1 million worth of fake cigarettes were recovered Thursday afternoon in a raid on an apartment at Caprichu 1, Barangay 5 here.

The operation resulted in the seizure of 107 boxes of assorted cigarette brands that were believed to be fakes.

Regional Trial Court Judge Esperanza Isabel Poco-Deslate authorized the search.

Edwardo Banas, RID Assistant Team Leader, said it took two months of surveillance and test-buys on the suspect before the operation was conducted.

The cigarettes were confirmed to be fake following tests by the raiding team.

Li is detained at the Roxas City PNP.