Philippines seizes $10.4 million smuggled diamonds

Last Updated: Friday, August 14, 2009 - 18:24

Manila: A British woman has been arrested for
allegedly smuggling USD 10.4 million worth of diamonds into
the Philippines, an official said on Thursday.

Officers from the presidential anti-smuggling group
arrested Alpha Kwok, a Chinese-born British national from Hong
Kong, at an upscale Manila condominium Tuesday and seized 160
carats of diamonds along with uncut emeralds and other
precious stones, said Antonio Villar Jr, head of the agency.
Kwok has been charged with smuggling and detained pending
a review of the case by the Justice Department, Villar said.

He said that some of the seized diamonds already were set
on rings, earrings and pendants and others were loose stones.

Kwok and her lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Villar said Kwok may have been part of a smuggling
syndicate that has been bringing diamonds into the country and
selling them to wealthy Filipinos.

He said immigration records showed she had visited the
Philippines more than 170 times in over two years, giving a
dozen different addresses in metropolitan Manila during her
stay.

"She doesn`t have any permit to import, and she has no
working permit," he said.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo created the
anti-smuggling group in 2007 to curb unlawful imports and
other tariff violations facilitated by corrupt customs
officials.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, August 14, 2009 - 18:24

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