CLARK Freeport, Pampanga -- A top official of Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) said
that the complaint of a Korean couple over alleged extortion and manhandling by customs officials
against them at the arrival area of Clark International Airport on the early morning of Feb. 13,
2018 was resolved within 24 hours after the controversy went viral on social media.
CIAC acting president Alex Cauguiran said Bureau of Customs Port of Clark chief Marites
Martin denied the allegations hurled against customs personnel by Korean tourist Woo Seunkyung.
On her Facebook account, Woo alleged that she and her husband were mistreated by Customs
personnel assigned at the airport’s arrival area. Woo’s Facebook post was written in Korean whose
English translation, she noted, was done via Smart phone app translator.
She claimed that Customs personnel illegitimately demanded $137 from her and her husband
upon their arrival at the airport here at 1 a.m. last Feb. 13.
Woo insisted that the items she had bought from the duty-free shop at the Incheon Airport in
Korea on her way to Clark were not taxable and when they refused to pay the suppose tax her items
were wrapped in tape and locked them in a room by Customs personnel.
Cauguiran immediately conducted a thorough investigation upon learning of the controversy
and reviewed the footage of the CCTV at the final security screening area manned by the Office for
Transportation Security (OTS).
The video shows that no e-cigarette vape-device was placed on the tray, contrary to what was
stated in the Facebook post. An OTS staff could also be seen handing a watch to the couple
immediately after she saw and picked up the item from the X-ray screening area.
CIAC officials also coordinated with the relatives of the couple in Zambales as to how the
incident upon their arrival transpired.
In a media briefing, Cauguiran and Martin showed the items brought by the couple. A branded
bag and assorted cosmetics were valued by BoC at $677 or more than P10,000 minimal value taxable
under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
The CIAC reiterates that it implements strict anti-pilferage measures at the airport
covering all airline personnel, security service providers and ground handling companies. These
include the use of body cameras, and the installation of additional CCTVs at the baggage conveyor
area. Passengers also have easy access to 24/7 assistance desks at the airport to ensure their
travels are stress-free.