The Car (& Bike) grey import business I thought it was interesting to see the truck luxury car transporter fire this week & the subsequent ruckus over it. The grey import car "scam's" have been going on for years, but with the growing new wealth in the country it has become a multi-million / billon? dollar business; & the grey import car dealers have invested millions of dollars in it. So it aint going away soon - new palms just need a lot more grease. The grey market imports hit the headlines big time last year in March 2012 http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/283928/luxury-car-curbs-imposed The Land Transport Department will not allow the registration of used cars brought into the country in parts in a bid to crack down on illegal imports of luxury vehicles. Director-general of the Land Transport Department Somchai Siriwattanachok said the measure will take effect in a month. The move is part of a campaign led by the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to crack down on illegal luxury car imports. The Customs Department also joined the effort to put an end to the scam, which is intended to evade import duty. The PACC's Dutsadee Arayawuth said some car importers have tried to evade duty by telling the Customs Department the unassembled cars they wanted to import were used cars owned by Thais who had studied or worked in the country they wanted to import the vehicle from. That entitled them to a discount on the normal import duty. "As a result, the country has lost a lot of import tax revenue," Pol Col Dutsadee said. The Customs Department has agreed to look into legal loopholes exploited by importers and the possible involvement of any customs officers. The PACC intends taking action only against importers for the time being, rather than the buyers of used cars. The department will register only used cars that have been imported and have gone through the duty payment process. Mr Somchai said 315 used cars were imported between from 2008 and last year. The importers of 14 of them have so far failed to present to the department all the required papers. Thai expats who want to bring their cars into the country must have owned the vehicles while they were abroad for at least 18 months. Some importers have exploited this entitlement and import brand new cars under returned expats' names. THE NATION MARCH 16, 2012 http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Millions-lost-in-tax-revenue-over-imported-cars-30178077.html Millions lost in tax revenue over imported cars - The Nation A Department of Special Investigation (DSI) investigation of car imports found that in January alone, 166 new cars had been wrongly registered as having been bought more than 18 months ago in order to lower their value before being smuggled into the country. It also found that 300 Mercedes Benz vehicles had been brought into the country for the "grey market", in which cars are imported by unauthorised distributors/persons and are sold at cheaper than market prices. Other than declaring luxurious cars as being worth a lot less than they really are, smugglers have also resorted to providing false information on imported autoparts in order to pay low custom duties. The government has been losing out on millions of baht worth of tax revenue every year, especially since luxury cars are usually taxed 187 to 328 per cent, DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said. Thailand has about 30 companies selling cars in the "grey market", and officials need to inspect suspect income tax payments and check if the value of imported goods is being declared falsely, he said. He added that any officials found involved would be reported to the National AntiCorruption Commission and urged consumers to not buy cars from the "grey market" because they could face charges of conspiracy. BANGKOK POST 11/04/2012 http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/288329/finance-companies-warned-off-car-importers Finance companies warned off car importers The Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission has warned five finance companies about the dangers of lending to luxury car importers that have evaded import duties. PACC secretary-general Dusadee Arayawuthi said he met representatives from the five companies and warned them to be cautious when granting loans to importers of expensive cars. The PACC said some luxury car importers gave authorities inaccurate information about prices and other details concerning duty payments. Inaccurate information might also be given to finance companies which might lend money to luxury car importers. "Without carefully checking the information of the borrower, those financial companies might face adverse consequences later on," warned Pol Col Dusadee, who didn't disclose the names of the finance companies. Pol Col Dusadee said some luxury car importers have tried to reduce the amount of import duty they pay by between 20% and 25% by providing false information to customs authorities. About 300 cars that have been imported from Britain are about to be registered with financial firms. Next week, the PACC will forward all information on luxury car importers that have evaded import duties to the Department of Special Investigation and the Customs Department. BANGKOK POST 23 MAY 2012 http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/294619/pacc-cracks-down-on-luxury-car-tax-dodgers PACC cracks down on luxury car tax dodgers Forty customs officials will be investigated for corruption for their roles in the evasion of tax on imported luxury cars, said the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission. PACC secretary-general Dusadee Arayawuthi said yesterday that taxes were dodged in the imports of about 5,000 European and Japanese cars valued at 10 billion baht. He said the 40 customs officials are suspected of having a hand in the racket. They work at ports in Laem Chabang in Chon Buri, Klong Toey in Bangkok and Rayong. Pol Col Dusadee said the Customs Department director-general promised to take action against the officials. The PACC did not give the names of the officials. The anti-corruption office recommended they be probed and suspended from duty. The officials are believed to be part of a wider racket involving tax evasion on cars. Pol Col Dusadee said the PACC will also refer the officials to the National Anti-Corruption Commission for investigation on charges of abuse of power. The PACC found 222 companies to be illegally importing cars, although many may be fake companies. Pol Col Dusadee said there were many suspicious aspects to the racket, with some of the imported vehicles coming with maintenance and repair records even though they were brand new. The tax declaration papers of the vehicles were also forged. Pol Col Dusadee said the 40 officials were probably paid by private companies to help them dodge taxes. Owners of these companies will be charged with collusion and possibly with money laundering as well. During the course of the investigation, the Anti-Money Laundering Office will be asked to freeze the assets of the company owners. The PACC earlier sought Britain's help in probing the activities of Thai students and Thai workers who had returned from Britain with luxury vehicles they had bought there. Since 2008, 31 luxury cars were imported by Thai students and Thai nationals who worked in Britain, according to the PACC. Fourteen of these vehicles are thought to have evaded import duties and been sold on the grey market at prices up to 60% cheaper than their market price in Thailand. British authorities were asked to check if the Thais met the criteria to be eligible for exemption from import duties. The students returned to Thailand after graduation, bringing cars they claimed were second-hand models, which qualified them to pay much lower import tariffs than for new vehicles. However, the PACC discovered the specifications of the cars showed they were in fact new. After being brought into the country, the vehicles were believed to have been sold on the open market. In the past four years, importers have been under-reporting the real prices of luxury cars by up to three-quarters, Pol Col Dusadee said. BANGKOK POST 12 JUNE 2012 http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/302020/fake-invoices-cheat-state-out-of-b20bn Fake invoices cheat state out of B20bn At least 7,000 invoices submitted to the Customs Department by independent importers of luxury cars from the UK have proven to be fake, the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission said. The fake invoices had allowed the importers to avoid paying more than 20 billion baht in import taxes, said Dusadee Arayawuthi, secretary-general of the PACC. In response to the PACC's request for help to verify the car import invoices with the car dealers in the UK, the British embassy in Bangkok recently confirmed that no British luxury car companies had exported cars to the independent car importers in question, Pol Col Dusadee said. Therefore, he said, all of the invoices submitted to the department had been falsified. The invoice value of the car is used to calculate import taxes. The embassy told the PACC that the value of each car declared with the British authorities was 55,000 (2.1 million baht), he said. But the total price of the cars declared with Thai customs authorities in US dollars was US$25,260 (800,667 baht), Pol Col Dusadee said. Tax refund applications were also submitted in the UK to seek refunds for the 20% tax paid there on the 7,000 vehicles, he said. The British embassy also asked the PACC to further investigate the gang behind the imported car tax avoidance scam, especially a Briton named Shariff Salim, he said. This suspect was believed to have played a key role in approaching car importers in Thailand, said Pol Col Dusadee, adding that the man usually travelled to Thailand to offer to sell the cars to importers. Previously, the PACC implicated 108 Customs Department officers in the scam, saying they were probably at fault for failing to verify the authenticity of the car import invoices. Yutthana Yimkaroon, deputy director-general of the department, said all 108 officers had been transferred and a panel set up to probe their alleged wrongdoing. BANGKOK POST 18 JULY 2012 http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/302976/politicians-fingered-in-scam Politicians fingered in scam Politicians are suspected of forcing the Customs Department to approve about 10,000 falsified invoices for luxury cars imported from the UK, the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission said. "Judging by the department's internal information, this [tax evasion] scam involved politicians overseeing, and who had overseen the department," PACC secretary-general Dusadee Arayawuthi said yesterday. He did not say how many politicians were involved. The PACC earlier found the invoices of the imported cars were falsified to declare the prices of the vehicles at far below their real price, to avoid paying full import taxes on the vehicles. Most of the imported cars declared with the department with faked invoices were Mercedes-Benz cars that were made in Germany but sent to the UK before being exported to Thailand, Pol Col Dusadee said. For example, a CLS 350 CDI 2011 model was declared as being imported at US$25,600, or about 810,000 baht each, which was subject to an import tax of only 2.5 million baht, he said. However, the British embassy in Bangkok said that particular model was sold for 55,000 or 2.7 million baht, which would have been subject to 8 million baht import tax if it had been correctly declared, said Pol Col Dusadee. Customs Department officials of several ranks were involved in the tax avoidance scam, he said. The transaction records of 108 customs officers implicated in the scam would also be checked, he said. BANGKOK POST 16 OCTOBER 2012 http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/317297/auto-tax-evasion-cost-state-60b-baht Car import tax scam has cost state B60bn, hearing told A tax evasion scam on imports of luxury vehicles involving more than 100 government officials has cost the state at least 60 billion baht in lost revenue, a parliamentary committee was told on Tuesday. Pol Col Dusadee Arayawuthi, deputy permanent secretary for justice, told the senate subcommittee probing corruption in transport that 10,000 high-end automobiles, mostly from Britain, had been brought into Thailand every year since 2008. The combined tax loss was around 60 billion baht, given that each vehicle is supposed to be taxed at one million baht or more, he added. Pol Col Dusadee spearheaded efforts to tackle the evasion of tax on imported luxury cars when he was secretary-general of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC). He was transferred to the Justice Ministry earlier this month amid criticism that the government wanted to prevent him unveiling corruption in government agencies, including the car case and flood prevention projects. The government claimed that Pol Col Dusadee was simply promoted to a higher position. When he was the PACC chief, the agency found about 10,000 invoices of luxury cars imported from Britain were falsified. The prices declared were far below the actual value of the vehicles, an attempt to avoid paying full import taxes. It suspected that both politicians and Customs Department officials were involved in the scam. On Tuesday at parliament he voiced his frustration, saying that 108 officials involved in the scam were left untouched. "They might be backed by either politicians or senior ministry officials, otherwise they could not stay,'' he told the panel. The case is in the hands of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). And Pol Col Dusadee on Tuesday offered to sit in an NACC subcommittee to help take action on those involving in the scandal. He also proposed the Senate to come up with a set of measures to prevent tariff evasion on exported cars. Pol Col Dusadee recommended that the customs officials calculate the tariffs based on the real values of the cars, determined either from the exporters' documents or cross referenced with authorised dealers. Also the import firms' transactions must be verified to aid revenue collection, he added. Early this year, four companies importing luxury cars called on the ministry to look into reports that Thai overseas students were abusing their right to bring cars into Thailand without having to pay fees and 200% taxes like proper importers have to. AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED BANGKOK POST 31 AUGUST 2012 Graft buster Dusadee transferred http://www.bangkokpost.com/lite/topstories/310803/graft-buster-dusadee-transferred The cabinet has approved the controversial transfer of Pol Col Dusadee Arayawuthi, secretary-general of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), to a position as deputy permanent secretary for justice. Pol Col Dusadee, who was investigating encroachment on forests on Tuesday, said he was not aware of his transfer. "I don't know about the transfer but I won't have a problem with it and I'm ready to work," the graft buster said. Pol Col Dusadee will replace Chartchai Sutthiklom, the outgoing justice deputy permanent secretary, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said after Tuesday's cabint meeting. Mr Chalerm said no replacement had been made for the PACC secretary-general's post. "The decision to appoint the new PACC secretary-general falls with Justice Minister Pracha Promnok," Mr Chalerm said. Department of Special Investigation (DSI) deputy chief Prawet Moolpramuk is reported to be tipped to replace Pol Col Dusadee. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Pol Col Dusadee's transfer had nothing to do with his investigation into the government’s expenditure of budgets allocated for 595 flood relief and flood prevention projects. "Pol Col Dusadee is a capable person," Ms Yingluck said. "As a deputy permanent secretary for justice he will continue to oversee the PACC and will actually oversee it in a larger picture." The investigation into the alleged graft in flood compensation will continue, she added. Earlier, a Justice Ministry source said Pol Col Dusadee's transfer would free him of graft-busting projects he has been working on, including the alleged importation of under-valued luxury cars, thus avoiding tax, and the complicity of politicians and state officials in the racket. The opposition Democrat Party has also warned if the cabinet approved his abrupt transfer it would be proof that the government had a hand in corruption and wanted to eliminate officials who closely examine how the taxpayers' money is being used. SO IN JUNE 2013 a truck carrrying luxury imported cars catches fire & the scam rears it's ugly head again. http://www.brudirect.com/southeast-asia/southeast-asia-thailand/806-luxury-car-scam-faces-nacc-probe Graftbusters vow to root out tax evaders The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will follow up on the investigation into the suspected luxury car tax-evasion scam initiated by the Public Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC). NACC member Phakdi Phosiri yesterday said he has asked the NACC to set up an inquiry panel to look into the case. Pol Col Dusadee Arayawuthi investigated the case when he was PACC secretary-general, Mr Phakdi said. But he forwarded it to the NACC before being made deputy justice permanent secretary. The PACC probe has already gathered a lot of evidence, Mr Phakdi said. If NACC chairman Panthep Klanaron approves the request to set up the inquiry panel, he will first investigate the case forwarded by the PACC and then proceed with new and related cases. Tarit Pengdith, head of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), said the department has already discovered that 5,832 cars were registered as locally reassembled to evade import taxes. It has also obtained information regarding the owners of these cars and will take action against them, he said. Mr Tarit said if they are found guilty of tax evasion, they will be required to pay what they owe. Owners who paid taxes will not be prosecuted for criminal offences, but those who imported and sold the cars that were falsely declared will face prosecution, he added. Pol Lt Col Kornwat Parnprapakorn, director of the Special Cases Bureau in Nakhon Ratchasima, said the DSI had sent a letter asking to take over, from Klang Dong police station, the investigation into the case of the six luxury cars in Nakhon Ratchasima that caught fire on a transporter last Wednesday. The police station will hand over the case to the DSI within two days, Pol Lt Col Kornwat said. A source said independent importers of luxury cars set up "paper companies" to import luxury cars. There are currently about 40 such firms in Thailand, of which only 10 have verifiable owners. The companies are set up as temporary operations and close down as soon as they face any legal problems, the source said. The ports of Laem Chabang and Klong Toey are key entry points for imported luxury cars, the source added. Independent car importers usually lobby politicians to order customs officials to expedite customs clearance for the vehicles, the source said. Previously, politicians would have received under-the-table money of 1 million baht per car that cleared customs. But because of current stricter controls, an invoice now cannot be used to falsely declare lower prices for the imported cars, so bargains were struck to pay politicians only 500,000 baht per car, the source said. Previously, a group of licensed car dealers complained that cars imported by independent importers did not go through industrial standards checks by the Thai Industrial Standards Institute under the Industry Ministry. The group also asked the Department of Land Transport (DLT) not to issue licence plates to those vehicles which were not checked by the institute. However, the independent importers tried to get round the rule by sending a random sample of imported cars for checks rather than the whole lot as required by law, the source said. Recently, the source added, the Customs Department sent a letter to ask the Thai Industrial Standards Institute to exempt imported cars from the standards check, even though cars are included on the list of more than 200 imported items that have to be checked for industrial standards by law as part of measures to protect consumers. The Customs Department also did not provide an explanation as to why only imported cars should be exempted, the source said. The source added that importers of luxury cars also declared imported cars as second-hand vehicles that are owned by students studying abroad. The six luxury cars that were caught up in the fire might have been imported via these means, the source said. DLT deputy director-general Asdsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket previously said an initial probe found irregularities with the registration of luxury cars in Si Sa Ket. A total of 14 such cars have been registered in the northeastern province since last year, seven of them this year. Two DLT officials in Si Sa Ket have been transferred to inactive posts as the probe widens. Mr Asdsathai has shunted Danai Khote-asa, chief of the DLT's Si Sa Ket branch office, to an inactive post in Bangkok, along with Natpat Jantajaem, chief of the vehicle inspection division at the DLT's Si Sa Ket branch. BANGKOK POST 5 JUNE 2013 http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/353603/labour-minister-son-named-to-be-questioned-by-dsi Padermchai's son says he is innocent The Department of Special Investigation said on Wednesday it has found no connection between the burnt-out luxury cars in the tax-avoidance scandal and the son of Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap, who showed them documents he said proved his innocence.. This red Ferrari is one of the four burnt-out luxury cars beng held at Klang Dong police station in Pak Chong district, Nakhon Ratchasima. (Photo by Sarit Srisang) Pol Lt Col Kornwat Panprapakorn, the DSI's chief investigator in charge of the northeastern region, said a preliminary investigation and the evidence presented personally by Army Maj Sukkachart Sasomsap showed no connection between the six luxury cars and the minister's son. He stressed the investigation will continue, and Maj Sukkachart will face further questioning and may be asked to produce more documents. Maj Sukkachart, son of Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap, took a proactive role and went to the DSI with his car registration book and tax receipt for the registration of his Lamborghini, which he said proved that he had changed the licence plate. He was summoned by the DSU for investigation after one of the two plates - Chor Lor 6217 Bangkok - was found in the wreckage of a Lamborghini burnt on May 29 in Pak Chong district, Nakhon Ratchasima, when a car transporter caught fire. The plate was linked to Maj Sukkachart, leading to speculation about his connection with the damaged cars, which reportedly were being carried to Si Sa Ket for registration. He told reporters after the DSI interview that the damaged car was not the one he used. They are different models, he said. DSI director-general Tarit Pengdith said before the interview that Maj Sukkachart would be questioned about the licence plate found inside the fire-gutted Lamborghini, one of four "super cars" destroyed in the transporter fire. He was initially asked to report on Thursday, but the meeting was brought forward to about 5pm Wednesday because Maj Sukkachart was not available on Thursday, Mr Tarit said. It is the first time the officer's name had been officially mentioned. Previously, he was referred to only as "a son" of the minister. Mr Padermchai previously said the licence plate registration had been cancelled because his son, who also drives a white Lamborghini, had bought a new one at an auction. Mr Tarit said the summons did not mean that Maj Sukkachart was associated with the tax evasion scheme involving luxury car imports now under investigation by the DSI. Maj Sukkachart posted a message on Facebook calling for fair reporting by the media, asking, "who will take responsibility for the damage to the Sasomsaps''. He told Matichon and Post Today newspapers that his Lamborghini was second hand, bought in April last year, and he had all the evidence needed to prove it. He denied any knowledge about his old registration plate being found in the burnt-out car. "Chor Lor 6217 (Bangkok) could have changed hands several times. I have no idea how it came to be there. The Land Transport Department is the right agency for an answer,'' he told Matichon. The Lamborghini was one of the four super cars burnt on May 29 in a still unexplained fire on a transporter taking them to Si Sa Ket. The other three were a red Ferrari, blue BMW and black Bentley. Another two cars - a white Mercedez-Benz and a black Bentley - were undamaged. All are being held at Klang Dong police station, Pak Chong. Officials of the DSI are work with other agencies - including the Central Institute of Forensic Science, the Customs Department and Exercise Department - after taking the six-car case as a special investigation. They suspect attempts to evade tax on the importation of the six cars, which were all to be registered in Si Sa Ket. Police have a separate investigation underway into the cause of the blaze. The DSI believes 5,832 cars, not all of them luxury super cars, have been brought into the country as parts and then reassembled to evaded import taxes. The cars could have been falsely declared as used auto spare parts, or been disassembled into parts and then reassembled once they entered Thailand. Many of the vehicles, including those six cars now parked at Klang Dong police station, were fitted to run on liquid gas, to avoid strict inspections. Officials believe that they were to be later reconverted to use petrol after the registration process was completed. No one has come forward to claim the six vehicles since the fire. Mr Tarit said the investigation will mainly focus on cars where there is solid evidence pointing to tax evasion. The agency will allow owners of the cars who are unsure whether their vehicles have been legally taxed to contact officials for verification. It was possible they were not aware that their vehicle was subject to tax evasion. Those violating the tax laws could be fined four times the normal tax rate and sent to jail for 10 years, under the Customs Act. The Land Transport Department's records show 6,826 cars were registered as gas-powered vehicles locally assembled from used auto parts between October 2000 and March this year, according to Transport Minister Chadchat Suttipunt. Bangkok registered 816 cars and the rest were in other provinces, topped by Nonthaburi and Saraburi. The minister said provinces with unusually high registrations of the cars will be the prime target of the probe by the Land Transport Department. This story posted because I suspect the motorcycle big bike grey import market maybe somewhat related & similar.... http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/27561-Importing-Bikes-Dramas-Part-1-Part-2-Part-3!!! If not, the car grey import market business is an interesting read anyway. I hope you enjoy the thread.