YOKOHAMA – Police have arrested a U.S. Navy serviceman, his Filipino wife and two other Filipinos for allegedly smuggling fake brand products for sale in Japan from South Korea using military mail, police officials said Sunday.
Jay Pintor, 44, petty officer first class at a Navy base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, his 36-year-old wife Agnes, and the two other Filipinos are suspected of violating Japan’s Customs Law and Trademark Law.
Police believe Agnes Pintor, who began operating general merchandise shops from March 2000, has repeatedly engaged in smuggling.
Jay and Agnes Pintor allegedly smuggled into Japan nine cartons containing fake products from a post office in South Korea to a U.S. naval post office in Yokohama from November to December last year.
Contained in the boxes were about 130 items such as coats and suits — allegedly fake products bearing the names of seven brands including Louis Vuitton and Gucci, police said.
The couple is suspected of instructing the two Filipinos who were employed in Agnes Pintor’s general merchandise shops — in Tokyo’s Kita and Sumida wards — to sell the fake items there, police said.
Under the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement, military mail is specially handled for U.S. military personnel, whose official correspondence is exempt from inspection.
Yokohama customs officials detected the alleged smuggling when the containers were delivered by unofficial correspondence.
The two employees have admitted to the allegations but Jay Pintor has denied them, police said.
Agnes Pintor, meanwhile, has told police that the imports were meant for family members and not for commercial purposes.
The fake-brand products are believed to have been manufactured in South Korea, police said, adding that the items were allegedly sold at the shops at 30 percent to 60 percent of the authentic products’ cost.
Jay Pintor had been serving as a caretaker of a dormitory for bachelors situated inside the naval base, police said.
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