Nine used vehicles brought in container as sewing machines


by Madura Ranwala

The suspect who is alleged to have handed over the forged documents to the Customs to get the container cleared a few days back.

Pic by Nishan S. Priyantha

Customs Central Investigation Division yesterday detected nine disassembled used vehicles worth Rs. 15 million in a 40-foot container that arrived in the country on December 12, 2013 from Japan.

Additional Director General of Customs, Thilak Perera, who visited the Gray Line 2 Container Yard at Grandpass, when the container was opened, told media that one of the customs officers at the Port, who felt suspicious about the documents that came with the container, had alerted the Central Investigation Division, which arrested a suspect who had handed over forged documents to get gate clearance without making any duty payments.

The suspect was brought yesterday to the place where the container was. 

Causing much embarrassment to the Customs, the suspect who was brought  there with two prison officers told the media that the detection had been done a few days back and the container had been opened. But the customs officers pretended to open it for the first time.

Although the Customs had investigated it earlier after opening it few days back, they had not bee able to estimate the exact value of the vehicle parts and used tyres, an official said.

Perera stressed that the suspect had violated the import control Act as vehicles more than two years old could not be imported and tried to evade customs duty and added that those vehicles parts were of Mini Coopers, Hondas, Toyotas, Lancers, etc.

"Those parts of vehicles detected were more than five years old. Therefore a licence should be obtained from Import Controller to import such vehicle parts," he said.

Customs media spokesman Leslie Gamini told The Island that the suspect had declared the consignment as sewing machines.

Gamini said that the suspect was a resident of Grandpass and he had committed numerous offences in the past.

He said that the racket would be investigated thoroughly as it was an organised crime.

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