A Korean woman shared their alleged bad experience from ‘kotong’ customs officials at Clark Airport in Pampanga. According to her lengthy post on her Facebook account on Sunday, February 18, it was their first time to visit the Philippines, and it was horrible. Read her full story below, and watch the short video of some of the customs officials.
“People line up when they find their luggage. I didn’t know why because it was my first overseas trip. I thought I should line at security. But the person in front of the table used a cutter to rip open the food that had been sealed in the ice box and had it tested.” The Korean woman, noting that she did not know the exact of their arrival at Clark Airport.
According to her, the customs officials required her and her husband to pay $137 as the tax for the items they bought at Duty-Free shop in Incheon Airport. And because she can hardly speak English, she requested for a translator but she was not allowed to have one. Nevertheless, she said she heard them yelling at them, “Go back to Korea!”
“My husband walked out of the office and complained, and the clerk tried to push him. Then another staff member appeared and stopped him, pointing to CCTV. Then he came with a paper, forced the signature, and when he didn’t, he tried to leave it on my lap. I was tied up for about two hours. Then he wrapped our things in tape, put them in the warehouse next to the office, and locked the door with a key.” She added. And because they felt helpless, the Korean national said they left the airport and went to Subic (their destination), and left their “shopping goods’ at the customs’ office. She said that they were told to go back on a specific time so they can get things again, but no one arrived from the Customs arrived. However, it was not yet the end of their agony.
The Korean said that on their departure day back to South Korea, the customs officials at the Clark Airport insisted that they should pay the tax before they could get their “shopping goods’ again. But because the supposed taxes she has to pay is much higher than the cost of the items, she decided to leave them, but the worst is yet to come.
“So, I quickly joined my husband and in front of the checkpoint, he put the watch and the cigarette he was wearing in the basket and ran out of the checkpoint. When I was running, my husband shouted that my watch was missing. It was a watch which cost over 70,000 pesos. As the husband looked for his watch in confusion, the checkpoint quietly held out his watch.” The frustrated Korean woman said.
“I never wanted to visit the Philippines again. I spent most of my time at the hotel, feeling uneasy about the possibility of the Philippine locals attacking me.Even if I do have a chance to visit the Philippines again, I will never use Clark Airport again. They received my possessions, worth 30,000 pesos.” She further wrote.
On the last part, the Korean woman said she learned that the name person in charge of the customs officials is a certain Ramon Mindanao. She added that the video showed two of the customs officials fooling around, and did not allow her to leave even it was already past her boarding time. One of them told her not to take photos of him.
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