Arraignment for 6 Chinese on fake cigarettes rap postponed

THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 postponed the scheduled arraignment of the six Chinese nationals accused in the proliferation of fake cigarettes in Davao City due to the absence of a Chinese interpreter.

Presiding Judge Retrina Fuentes of the RTC Branch 10 re-scheduled the arraignment for the accused on November 10 around 8:30 a.m. instead on September 15, considering that all the accused are Chinese nationals.

Fuentes said the six accused are not familiar with the English and Filipino languages, thus, the re-scheduling of the arraignment. She added that the defense counsel must secure a Chinese interpreter for them.

The court also directed the defense counsel to submit the name and address of the Chinese interpreter not later than five days before the next hearing. Both the public and private prosecutors are notified on the order.

Yuequn Shi, owner of a cigarette warehouse in Buhangin, is charged with five counts of trademark infringement, five counts of unfair competition, five counts of false designation of origin, false description, and intellectual property code.

His relatives Chun Qun, Mei Qun, Jian Qun, Tian Pei and Lian Zai, all Shi, were also charged with six counts for trademark infringement, six counts unfair competition and six counts of false designation of origin and false description.

Court record showed that the six accused were arrested by the members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Davao last July 21, following the 48 search warrants issued by the same court on several warehouse here.

Aside from the warehouse at San Pedro Village in Buhangin District, the accused also had warehouse at Rivera Village in Bajada, on F. Bangoy Street, at 6th Avenue and other areas in Agdao District, and along Sta. Ana Avenue, Poblacion.

CIDG 11 authorities conducted the raid following the complaint of the Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation Inc. on proliferation of counterfeit cigarette products in the local market - Marlboro, More, Fortune, Mark, among others.

A hold departure order was also issued by the RTC Branch 10 last August 11, directing the Bureau of Immigration to prevent the six accused from leaving the country. The authorities seized P18-million worth of fake cigarettes.
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