Sri Lanka Customs busted a major vehicle smuggling racket, which had been carried out for years and seized four containers bearing nine vehicles worth over Rs.200 million that were imported declared as spare parts.
Officials of the Customs Preventive Division on information commenced investigations on four suspicious containers,which had arrived at the China International Container Terminal (CICT) in the Colombo Port in February 2019.
Although, the consignments had been declared as vehicle auto spare parts, the importer of the goods had not come forward to claim them for the past two years, giving further suspicions to the Customs officials.
Sources at the Customs Preventive told the Daily Mirror that they had reported the case to the Customs chief and had filed a case in the courts before getting an order to open the four forty foot containers on February 9 this year.
The sleuths found nine whole vehicles inside the containers and another vehicle suspected to be a Land Cruiser Prado, which was in the corner of the fourth container, which had been filled with vehicle spare parts.
The first three containers contained three Toyota KDH vans and six Toyota Noah vans.
According to the import law it is illegal to import vehicles used for many years and even a big tax would be imposed if it was declared as whole vehicle.
To evade a great tax the importer had declared the whole vehicles as spare parts and carried out the business for a long time.
The Customs sleuths have identified the importer to be a vehicle assembling plant owner in Minuwangoda Industrial Zone.
Director Customs Preventive Priyantha Senanayake is conducting the investigations on the instructions of Customs Director General Vijitha Ravipriya. (KURULU KOOJANA KARIYAKARAWANA)