KUALA LUMPUR: A British national was among three people arrested by Customs officers for allegedly falsifying documents and under-declaring tax for 17 luxury cars, which cost the Customs Department some RM15mil in lost revenue.
The Customs officers seized 16 of 17 cars in a showroom here after they raided a condominium and seized detailed evidence about the syndicate’s activities.
The activities include the smuggling of at least 70 other brand new Mercedes Benz and BMW cars in the past one year.
Preventive division deputy director-general Abdul Rahman Abdul Hamid said the syndicate’s activities were exposed when a Johor Customs Special Task Force team discovered that a Mercedes S320 model was smuggled into the country.
After questioning the car owner, Customs officers raided a condominium here at about 7pm on Monday and arrested the 30-year-old foreigner and his local accomplice, also in his 30s.
“Upon searching the condominium, the team discovered that it was used as an office. The team later seized computers, printers, a facsimile, phones, Ministry of International Trade (MITI) and Industry and Customs officers' rubber stamps, British car registration books and blank company invoice sheets.
“They also seized bills of lading, false Customs documents, car import permits, trade plates, files with details of luxury cars that had been smuggled into the country, local and foreign currency worth RM180,000, bank drafts, speedometers and car keys,” he added.
Abdul Rahman said that initial investigations revealed the syndicate had direct connections with three British car companies via the Internet and with several local car dealers.
He said the syndicate’s modus operandi was to declare brand new cars as second-hand ones by tampering with mileage readings.
On several occasions, the group declared the cars as brand new, but then tampered with tax figures by forging MITI officers' signatures before paying tax.