Sri Lanka Customs busts vehicle import racket under diplomatic cover
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Customs said it had busted a racket where accident-damaged cars are packed in containers and imported to the country falsely consigned to an embassy in Colombo,
There were two Toyota Hi-Ace vans, three Toyota Vitz cars, one Nissan mini-van, three Hijet mini-vans and three Hustler wagons with accident damage.
The vehicles were valued at 55 million rupees, Sri Lanka Customs said, but damaged vehicles can be brought for next to nothing from yards, industry officials said. Though there is no bar on importing damaged cars, tax has to be paid on a deemed value based on engine capacity.
Cars could then be repaired and sold as ‘re-conditioned’, though buyers do not know that they are buying an accident damaged vehicle. Usually there is an ‘auction grade’ in used vehicles.
Sri Lanka has banned the import of cars after printing money worsened in 2020 following a tax cut at the beginning of the year. Second had car prices have soared in Sri Lanka.
It is not clear how the imported cars could be registered legally. But there is a racket involving buying the registration book of an old written off vehicles and replacing the chassis, industry sources say.
The vehicles, which had been shipped from Singapore labeled ‘generator parts’ and were consigned to an officer in a High Commissioned in Colombo, customs said. The embassy had denied that they imported the vehicles. (Colombo/Jan12/2021)