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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, July 25: The state Customs Department has seized 18 foreign-registered luxury cars, including Ferrari, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce, for evading Customs duties amounting to RM8.15 million.
The vehicles, which included several other models including Mercedes, Range Rover and Toyota, were valued at RM4.7 million.
Custom deputy director-general (Enforcement and Compliance) Datuk Azimah Abd Hamid said the vehicles were confiscated in a special operation carried out by Customs and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from July 9 to 12.
“This is the biggest success in Sarawak for this year and the cars were seized from areas in Kuching and Samarahan.
“All the vehicles were registered in Brunei, while the owners, all of them Malaysians, have been detained and released on bail of between RM5,000 and RM10,000 each, pending further investigations,” she told a press conference at Wisma Customs, here, today.
She said initial investigations found that the foreign vehicles were suspected to have “overstayed” the allowed period, using fake vehicle permits and several other offences under the Customs Act 1967.
In reference to Item 13 of the Customs Duty (Exemption) Order 2017, she said exemption were given to foreigners or Malaysian citizens with permanent resident (PR) status, or obtained working permit in foreign countries, to bring foreign-registered vehicles provided it must be exported within a period of not more than 90-days from the date of import.
“Some of the cars could have overstayed (in the state) for more than a year,” she added.
She declined to comment whether prominent figures were involved.
Azimah said the operation was the second carried out this year, to combat the smuggling of imported vehicles into Sarawak particularly from neighbouring countries.
“The operation was carried out following a year-long observation and surveillance by Customs and MACC. Finally, we manage to trace the cars.
She said the cases will be investigated under Section 133(1) and Section 135(1) of the Customs Act.
The public have been urged to give information about any smuggling activities to the department, which can be contacted via its toll free number 1800-88-855.
State Customs director Datuk Sharifah Halimah Tuanku Taha was present. — DayakDaily