Alibaba takes down ads for fake Philippine tax stamps

Date issued: April 17, 2017

CHINESE e-commerce group Alibaba has taken down advertisements of counterfeit Philippine excise tax stamps, about three weeks after the Department of Finance (DoF) raised the issue with its founder Jack Ma.

In a letter dated March 30, Alibaba Group President Jin Jianhang informed the DoF that has taken down the advertisements from its sites.

“After an extensive search taken by our security and platform governance teams, such listings have been taken down from both our and AliExpress sites. We continue to screen our platforms for the items in question, and once found and their illicit status established, such items will continue to be removed in the future,” read the letter.

“Regardless on which platform the transgression takes place, infringers face penalties, including permanent store closure. Additionally, we continue to encourage users of our marketplaces and other stakeholders, be they rights holders or government agencies, to make use of the tools available on our platform for reporting infringing items,” said Mr. Jin in the same letter.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III wrote to Mr. Ma and Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua last March 10 requesting to take down the advertisements, saying that the products listed allow “easy access” to tools for evading taxes in the Philippines.

The DoF discovered that the stamps were selling at $0.1 to $1 apiece on the Chinese e-commerce portal.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs found cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp. to be allegedly using fake tax stamps, following a raid on a Pampanga warehouse subleased to the firm. It is however not determined whether Mighty Corp. purchased the stamps through Alibaba.

BIR has filed a P9.654 billion criminal complaint against the cigarette firm last March 22 for tax evasion.

The BoC also imposed a preventive suspension on Mighty Corp.’s import permits pending resolution of the case.

“[Alibaba] appreciate[s] the work that you do and value the cooperation of the Philippines government to thwart the sale of illicit items on e-commerce platforms,” said Mr. Jin.

“We will continue to invest in improving and refining Alibaba’s notice and takedown processes, which are fully aligned with our corporate values and business mission,” he said. -- Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan

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