KUCHING: The Customs Department has seized 18 foreign-registered luxury cars in Sarawak for evading Customs duties amounting to RM8.15mil.
The vehicles, which included a Lamborghini, Ferrari and several Mercedes models valued at RM4.7mil in total, were confiscated in a special operation by Customs and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from July 9 to 12, said Customs deputy director-general Datuk Azimah Abd Hamid on Thursday (July 25).
She said initial investigations found that the owners had breached Item 13 of the Customs Duties (Exemption) Order 2017 by bringing in the vehicles for longer than the stipulated three months and using false vehicle permits.
Under Item 13, foreign nationals and Malaysians holding permanent resident status or valid working permits of a foreign country may bring in one foreign-registered vehicle on the condition that it is exported within three months of the date of import.
Azimah said all the seized cars were registered in Brunei, but the owners were all Malaysians.
"We have detained the owners and released them on bail of RM5,000 to RM10,000 each.
"The vehicles have been in Malaysia for more than three months, including some which we believe have been here for more than a year.
"Some of the vehicles are tinted, which is not allowed in Brunei. This is an indicator that the vehicle has not been brought back to the original country," she said.
Azimah said the cars were seized from residential areas in Kuching and Samarahan.
She declined to reveal whether the owners included prominent figures, saying only that investigations were still ongoing.
"We will investigate further whether this involves a syndicate for smuggling vehicles," she said.
According to her, these cases were being investigated under Sections 133 (1) and 135 (1)(g) of the Customs Act.