ALOR SETAR: The Kedah Customs Department has seized 81 luxury cars believed to have been illegally smuggled in with unpaid duties totalling about RM4.9mil (S$1.8 milion).
State Customs director Abdul Latif Abdul Kadir said the vehicles were recovered from Kedah, Perak, the Klang Valley and Kelantan between January and April.
"Fifteen men, including a civil servant, who are suspected of involvement in the luxury car smuggling activities have been detained.
"The civil servant, who is in his 50s, was detained in March. He is believed to be involved in eight cases of luxury car smuggling," said Abdul Latif at a news conference at the State Customs Complex here.
He said the vehicles seized were believed to have been sold for RM2.7mil, far below the market value.
"For example, a Toyota Estima was sold at RM40,000 compared with over RM100,000 for the legally imported one.
"Based on our investigations, all the suspects operated alone in smuggling luxury cars from a neighbouring country before disposing of them at cheap prices in the local market."
He said the culprits were believed to have registered the smuggled luxury cars using false registration numbers.
"Among the luxury cars seized were Mercedes Benz E240, Porsche Boxster S, Maserati, Jaguar, BMW X5, BMW 730 Li, Lexus RX300, Mini Cooper, Volkswagen Beetle, Nissan Fairlady and Volvo XC90," said Abdul Latif.
He said all the suspects had been given bail by the department.
He advised the public to avoid buying any luxury car which was offered at an unusually low price.