Xayaboury authorities seize 870 illegally imported vehicles
Xayaboury customs officials seized 870 vehicles illegally imported into the province in the first three months of 2017, with 717 released to their owners following payment of 23 billion kip in tax.
Director of Xayaboury Customs Inspection Office, Mr Khamphieng Sengthongkham told Vientiane Times on Friday that the 870 illegally imported vehicles included 87 motorbikes.
Meanwhile, provincial customs officials are still waiting for owners of the other 153 vehicles to come forward.
“Some 80 percent of the vehicle owners are officials. However, we are continuing to resolve the issue,” Mr Khamphieng said.
Recently, the government also instructed the Ministry of Finance to work with relevant departments to carry out earnest investigation into the illegal importation of another 5,639 cars, aiming to resolve the issue.
Customs Department under the ministry reported recently these vehicles were impounded in the 2015-2016 fiscal year with their illegal importation estimated to have cost the state some 66 billion kip in lost revenue.
The cars were brought into Laos illegally for sale on the black market. Those found to be involved in the illegal action were subject to be punished in line with the country's laws, according to an official in charge.
The illegal process to give stolen vehicles a new identity is known in some countries as ‘car re-birthing'.
Authorities said cars imported into Laos intentionally facilitated by fake documents shall be seized as state assets and those found guilty shall be penalised in line with the relevant laws. In the case where a company or companies were found to be involved in the illegal imports, their business licenses shall be revoked.
In cases where cars are imported illegally without the individual owner's knowledge, the vehicle owners are required to pay obligation fees and fines in line with the relevant laws and regulations.
Those vehicle owners who refuse to observe this rule will have their vehicles seized.
The government has also outlined measures to resolve the issue concerning 1,947 cars imported into Laos for export to a third country, which are still parked at Thanalaeng Warehouse beside the 1st Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge Customs Checkpoint.
They have warned import companies about 435 of the vehicles, which have been at Thanalaeng Warehouse for more than four months exceeding the legally-defined time limit to clear all procedures. The relevant authorities plan to issue a new deadline, and if the vehicles are not cleared by then they will be seized.
Authorities also warned vehicle importers of the remaining 1,512 cars to complete all the legal procedures and to collect the vehicles within the defined four-month timeframe; if not the cars will be seized.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 22, 2017)