The Sri Lanka Customs had seized more than 300 luxury vehicles worth more than Rs.2,000 million which were imported illegally during the COVID-19 pandemic period, Customs Media spokesman and Deputy Director Sunil Jayarathne said.
He told Daily Mirror that the most number of luxury vehicles were imported from Japan and several vehicles were imported from other countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany. "The vehicles have been imported without a valid Letter of Credit (LC), with changing the Shipped on Board Date and Bill of Lading date. Most of the LCs of the vehicles had not been opened at the due date,” he said.
“Certain LCs were issued before the Government imposed regulations and some were issued after the regulations were imposed,” he said. He said the majority of these vehicles were shipped from Europe and Japan to the Colombo and Hambantota Ports.
“Usually vehicles were imported from the UK and Germany by containers to the Colombo Harbour. Vehicles from Japan arrived at the Hambantota Harbour in car carriers," Mr Jayarathne said. "These vehicles were imported during the pandemic period," he said. “Many European vehicles such as BMW, Audi and Mercedez Benz have been illegally imported using vehicle import concessions. Most of the vehicles were imported using duty-free permits and by government officials,” Mr Jayarathne said.
The investigations carried out by the Sri Lanka Customs had already been concluded. Meanwhile, Media Spokesman said there is a possibility of confiscating these vehicles. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)