A KOREAN businessman was charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 before the Mandaue City Prosecutor’s Office yesterday for allegedly importing used clothes.

Lawyer Eric Isodoro, NBI 7 assistant director, said they charged Kim Sang Yeon, 45, with violating Republic Act (RA) 4653, which was passed to punish any person caught selling used clothes from another country.

The law aims to protect the public from the ill effects on health that used clothing might bring.

Agents arrested Kim when they raided his warehouse in Barangay Looc last Wednesday afternoon.

NBI 7 seized used clothes worth about P3 million from the businessman, who owns San Woo Ri Phil Inc. and the warehouse.

Kim told reporters that his Korean friend owns the company, which is registered at the Department of Trade and Industry as a seller of dry goods.

Isidoro said the clothes were shipped from Cagayan de Oro, where the clothes arrived from South Korea.

The port of Cagayan de Oro City was also the transshipment point of sacks of used clothing that NBI 7 agents seized from a warehouse in Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City last March 19.

Isodoro, in an earlier report, described the port in Cagayan de Oro as lax. 

Used clothes are transferred from an international container to a local container to make them appear as domestic cargo, he said.

Isodoro said a Korean syndicate may be behind the illegal shipment and bribed custom officers in Cagayan de Oro. 

Kim admitted selling used clothes, but said he didn’t know that importing used clothes is illegal in the Philippines. 

Isodoro said Kim’s company has been operating for two years.

He said they went to Kim’s warehouse after they were tipped off about the foreigner’s involvement in selling used clothes.