MANILA – Authorities have arrested two Chinese nationals and seized PHP21 million worth of face masks during entrapment operation in Taguig City, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said on Sunday.

The CIDG identified the Chinese nationals as James Zhu and Charles Lee, both were arrested on Friday night (June 19) at AKH Construction Plant, Lusacan, Barangay Wawa, Taguig City for selling large quantities of KN95 disposable face masks through phone call and text transactions.

The confiscated face masks have a market value of PHP105 each. However, the arrested Chinese nationals sell it at a cheaper price of PHP45 each.

The CIDG Anti-Transnational Crimes Unit (ATCU) seized 200 boxes containing 1,000 pieces of KN95 face mask each and entrapment money, including PHP1,000 bill used to make boodle money appear genuine.

Zhu and Lee are now under the temporary custody of the CIDG ATCU and will be facing charges for violations of Republic 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal as One Act; RA 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act); and Article 151 in relation to Article 14(7), both of the Revised Penal Code.

In a separate police operation, the Parañaque City Police Station-Southern Police District (SPD) arrested another Chinese national identified as Cai Yongchun, residing at Unit 114 Morgana Bldg., Multinational Ave., Multinational Village, Moonwalk, Parañaque City for large-scale distribution of medicines without permit.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas said confiscated from Cai are undetermined Chinese medicines and medical supplies on Saturday.

He said residents of the subdivision complained about the foreign nationals engaged in selling and distribution of medicines without valid permit.

Upon verification, the suspect failed to show necessary permits and other pertinent documents for the possession and control of 64 boxes and 40 plastic bags of the medicines and medical supplies with Chinese character labels.

He said the confiscated pieces of evidence will be turned over to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for proper disposition while complaint for violation of RA 10918 (Philippine Pharmacy Act) is being prepared against the suspect.

“We are continuously intensifying our operations against illegal medicine and medical supplies all over Metro Manila. We call the perpetual cooperation of the public to report any fake or illegally operating pharmacies and hospitals. We shall not risk the health of everyone in this fight against the unseen,” said Sinas. (PNA)