Alibaba takes down fake cigarette tax stamp ads
Following a request from the Philippine government, global e-commerce giant Alibaba of Chinese business tycoon Jack Ma took down advertisements of fake cigarette tax stamp sellers, the Department of Finance said.
In a statement, the DOF said the Alibaba Group also assured the Philippine government that the company “will continue to exercise vigilance in screening its platforms to weed out such illicit ads.”
“We are aware from the public media that you recently disclosed an alleged selling of digitally printed fake cigarette tax stamps on our Alibaba.com platform and sent a personal letter to our chair Jack Ma. We would like to show our great appreciation in advance that you brought us into attention of this highly important issue,” Alibaba Group president Jin Jianhang said in a March 30 letter to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.
Last March 10, Dominguez wrote Ma to request that Alibaba.com immediately stop posting advertisements of those selling digitally printed fake cigarette tax stamps on the website.
“After an extensive search taken by our security and platform governance teams, such listings have been taken down from both our Alibaba.com 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,” Jin said.
According to Jin, “all of our marketplaces forbid the listing or sale of illicit items, including fake tax stamps.”
“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,” Jin said.
According to the DOF, Jin thanked Dominguez for calling their attention, as Alibaba “appreciates the work that you do and value the cooperation of the Philippine government to thwart the sale of illicit items on e-commerce platforms.”
“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,” according to Jin.
The DOF is moving to combat the proliferation of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps in the market, which deprives the government of an estimated P10 billion in foregone revenues yearly.
Dominguez and Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay had said that the government was preparing three to five more tax evasion cases against homegrown cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp. after a number of recent raids yielded cigarette packs with fake stamps.
Dominguez last week noted that “last month’s criminal complaint against Mighty covered the alleged nonpayment of P9.5 billion in excise taxes on cigarettes seized from one warehouse alone and does not yet take into account the three other raided warehouses leased by the firm where the Bureau of Customs had found 90 percent of Mighty cigarettes with fake internal revenue stamps.”
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