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Supercar importer sues DSI for B50m

BANGKOK: Supercar importer Panusak Techaterasiri, aka “Boy Unity”, has filed a B50-million lawsuit against the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) after its raids to seize allegedly illegal cars from his showrooms dealt his company a heavy financial blow.

crime, police, transport,

Bangkok Post

Tuesday 6 June 2017, 08:58AM

Luxury car importer Panusak Techaterasiri runs through his business operations for the media. He claims in a lawsuit that the DSI raids have hurt his business with no proof of wrongdoing. Photo: Somchai Poomlard
Luxury car importer Panusak Techaterasiri runs through his business operations for the media. He claims in a lawsuit that the DSI raids have hurt his business with no proof of wrongdoing. Photo: Somchai Poomlard

The two showrooms, run by STT Autocar Co on Ratchadaphisek and Sukhumvit roads, have not been able to do business since May 23, following the DSI raids which Mr Panusak said were carried out unlawfully.

He yesterday (June 5) insisted 34 luxury cars belonging to his company impounded by the DSI were imported and priced properly and challenged the department to prove otherwise with solid evidence.

The cars are among 160 luxury cars seized by DSI investigators during their raids on many showrooms in Bangkok during May 18 and 24, following suspicions their prices were falsely under declared to avoid the country’s high import duties.

Mr Panusak claimed he had hired a “shipping company” to import the cars and handle the documents and customs procedures for which he was required to pay up to 328% tax for each car.

But what happened was the DSI raided his shops with no permission or evidence of any wrongdoing, he claimed.

“They used force and placed the cars to block showroom entrances without [search] warrants from courts,” Mr Panusak said.

He also questioned another DSI claim that some of the confiscated luxury cars were stolen from foreign countries, mainly Britain.

A green Lamborghini he imported on Feb 2 this year was also implicated by the DSI in a theft case, according to media reports. It is true police and customs officials then suspected the car might have been imported illegally, but after an inspection of its documents, they found no irregularities, Mr Panusak said.

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He believes he is being “bullied” in this case because, he claimed, he once had a conflict with a high-ranking official at the Justice Ministry, which oversees the DSI.

Deputy DSI chief Korrawat Panprapakorn insisted DSI officials adhered to the law when raiding the showrooms and the department did find irregularities in the car prices.

However, Mr Panusak has the right to file a lawsuit, he said.

The department’s spokesmen yesterday also reacted to Mr Panusak’s claims, saying the DSI is treating the possible tax evasion on luxury cars as a “special case” and is therefore authorised by the 2004 Special Case Investigation Act and the Criminal Code to impound suspected cars. The investigators need the seized cars for use as evidence and will return them to the company or owners once the case comes to an end, he said.

Lt Col Korrawat said the DSI is working with the Customs Department to compare car prices on their invoices with actual prices overseas to claim back unpaid taxes.

He said it was no surprise to see Mr Panusak’s company launch legal counter-action against the DSI.

In high-profile cases, defendants tend to sue the DSI with the Civil Court or Criminal Court as a technique to use court power to scrutinise and even “destroy the credibility and the weight of evidence compiled by DSI investigators”, the spokesmen said.

Read original story here.



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Jor12 | 07 June 2017 - 13:29:34

Rorri...Me thinks it's a case of calling the kettle black. It's alright for you to abuse people, yet you are upset when you get it back. Get back to me when you have anything factually substantial to say and can read properly, otherwise I just cant be bothered. Try keeping up with the articles. 

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Rorri | 07 June 2017 - 11:20:38

Jor12, insults as usual, where does it say this company, or any member, is involved in stealing, or transporting, vehicles, it only states suspected, with no evidence to back up the claim, the correct way would be to scrutinize customs records, build a case, then raid the company, if the company tried to move the vehicles then yes, the act can be used, if the vehicles are not being moved then a warrant is needed, as per the act. How would they know the vehicles are being moved, it's  called surveillance. 

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Jor12 | 07 June 2017 - 10:21:34

Rorri...oh... I forgot the funniest one. You allege the State can come to my home and take anything they want without a warrant?...haha

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Jor12 | 07 June 2017 - 09:40:52 usual you cannot read a simple Act. You are one of those who got their law degree off the back of a cereal packet. So, you are telling me that if I run a racket of stealing cars and transport them overseas to sell, it is not a criminal offense?...LOL.

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Rorri | 07 June 2017 - 06:36:02

Jor12, Tv's self appointed legal advisor, Section 24 part 1, clearly states the reasons a warrant isn't necessary,  it is also clear that it is not relavent to this confiscation, as there was no criminal investigation concerning this company, or its management/employees. DSI simply suspect something MIGHT be wrong, no evidence to back up their suspicion. 

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Jor12 | 06 June 2017 - 22:44:38

CaptainJack69...If you read the relevant Acts you will find that a warrant is not necessarily required.

Also, the article is silent as to whether DSI officers were in possession of a warrant. If it is later ascertained the action is spurious, damages and costs will be awarded to the Defendant.  

He is not "counter suing" anyone. It is an initial action as he believes that he has been wronged and is seeking compensation. The DSI is not counter suing. It is not because of some perverted notion as you suggest. Given that he may lose and be awarded costs against him, he must ensure that he has a strong case in the first place, or have very deep pockets.

Well yes you can file a second suit - which is a counterclaim in the same suit. For example a driver in a motor accident will seek damages for the repairs and the other party will also bring an action also for damages.    

No-one is trying "to pervert the course of justice" at all, but a proper application of the law. On your analysis, if a Doctor operates and cuts out the wrong part from my body, I will be prevented from suing the Doctor? That is what the law is designed to do, to bring the aggrieved person back to the position before the damage occurred. In this case, he believes the wrongful action of the DSI has caused damage in that he has effectively been prevented from trading. 

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CaptainJack69 | 06 June 2017 - 12:53:36

Well, it does seem that if his premises were raided and his assets seized without a warrant then he's within his rights to complain, even to seek remuneration.  But my question is this, if he is later found to in fact be at fault, to be guilty, then what repercussions will he face for filing what would then be known to be a spurious lawsuit?

This practice of "counter-suing" ones accuser is common place here in Thailand.  It's a tactic often designed to do slow down the justice system and increase costs for those filing the original complaint. It's often done in the hope that the increased costs to the accuser will prove untenable and they will be forced to abandon their case.  As such it represents a clear perversion of justice.

In the legal systems of most countries you can't file a second suit over a single dispute.  The repercussions for filing a case that loses are serious enough to discourage weak cases in the first place, since an accused party who is exonerated will be awarded significant damages.  In this way the burden on the court system is 

I maintain that this practice should be outlawed, that people intentionally trying to pervert the course of justice should face serious repercussions, that if people want to "save face" they should focus on winning their existing case rather than trying to cripple the justice system by filing another one.

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