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DLT slams brakes on customs car auction

BANGKOK: The Customs Department has abruptly cancelled an auction of hundreds of confiscated vehicles after the Department of Land Transport refused to issue registration certificates for most of them.

crime, transport,

Bangkok Post

Thursday 29 June 2017, 08:59AM

Confiscated cars that have been put up for auction today (June 29) by the Customs Department. Photo: Apichart Jinakul
Confiscated cars that have been put up for auction today (June 29) by the Customs Department. Photo: Apichart Jinakul

Customs Department deputy director-general Chaiyut Kumkun said today’s (June 29) bidding on 315 cars, which was expected to generate B550 million for the state, was on hold until both agencies worked out the problem.

It is the first time in two decades the DLT has refused to issue registration certificates for vehicles up for auction.

There is concern the auction will be used to launder illegally imported cars, said Mr Chaiyut, also the department spokesman.

“This is the first time in over 20 years the DLT has refused on the grounds that it wants to prevent abuse of the auction in case the cars were imported unlawfully,” he said.

A total of 315 cars and motorcycles were to be put up for auction today, but the DLT yesterday (June 28) informed the Customs Department that only four vehicles would be issued registration certificates.

Among the lots were a 2015 Ferrari California with a starting price of B20.62 million, a 2013 Aston Martin DB9 Spider with a quoted price of B20mn, and a 2013 Harley Davidson Electra Glide valued at B620,000.

He said the department usually checks with other agencies when holding an auction – the police, the Department of International Trade and the DLT – to make sure the vehicles are not stolen or unlawfully assembled. The department had spent about B1mn organising the planned auction but a delay is the best option to avoid possible damage if those cars cannot be used, he said.

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The chiefs of both departments will work out how to handle the issue, which needs to be addressed as soon as possible otherwise storage and maintenance costs will grow and the cars will depreciate.

He said the department can terminate an auction if it fails to draw reasonable bids after concern is raised about the possible use of such sales to launder illegal items.

“If the auction proceeds, the burden will fall on the buyers. The department will discuss this with the DLT. We’ve never encountered anything like this,” he said.

DLT chief Sanit Promwong said the department has examined documents related to the cars and found most of them to be in violation of regulations involving registration of cars assembled from used and imported parts.

Most cars were apparently assembled from assorted parts, not wholly imported as single units, he said, adding that these cars are illegal.

Read original story here.



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CaptainJack69 | 29 June 2017 - 19:55:51

A friend once explained this to me. Apparently the confiscated cars end up being sold for unrealistically low prices and are then re-sold for their full value by 'interested parties' who keep the difference. It's been going on for years.

Of course this requires collusion by the auctioneers. So what's happening here is the DLT are accusing the Customs Department of corruption. Who'd have thunk it? Not in Thailand.

The sensible thing to do is to set realistic minimum prices for the vehicles. Also have undercover agents try to bid on some and see if anyone tries to strong-arm them out of bidding. Both are basic responsible auctioneering practices.

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