More than 100 Lamborghinis, Porsches and BMWs have been stolen from Britain and sold in Thailand – often to unsuspecting customers
Thai police have seized as many as 120 stolen luxury sports cars in Bangkok amid a crackdown on organised crime in the Kingdom, which has also revealed a further 1,000 supercars implicated in a tax avoidance scheme, according to AFP.
Detectives in the Thai capital conducted a series of raids in recent weeks after the British authorities alerted them to a scam in which luxury cars bought on credit in Britain were shipped to Thailand and reported stolen with payments still outstanding.
Once in Thailand, the cars were believed to have been sold mostly to unsuspecting customers, with those involved in the scheme pocketing healthy profits.
Thailand imports the lion’s share of its luxury cars from Britain, where people also drive on the left hand side of the road. Of the 120 cars seized, 38 were British, according to Britain’s National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service.
“To date 38 UK vehicles, identified by their engine and chassis numbers and valued at over £2.3 million [$2.91m] have been imported into Thailand,” the agency told AFP.
“Seven of the 38 vehicles identified were seized by the DSI [Thailand’s Department for Special Investigations] from a used car dealership in Bangkok.”
That dealership is run by Indharasak Techaterasiri, who has vehemently denied knowledge of any wrongdoing. He claims to have checked the UK’s vehicle registry databases to ensure the seven cars weren’t stolen, as with all of the 500 or so luxury cars he imports from Britain every year.
“They keep saying on the news that all these cars are stolen, that I am a criminal,” he told the AFP. “It isn’t fair for me.”
In addition to exposing the sale of stolen British vehicles, Thai authorities discovered a complex tax avoidance scheme, whereby luxury cars were undervalued in a bid to save tens of thousands of dollars in tax. At least two cars were shipped to Thailand in parts to avoid the triple tax rates; eight lamborghinis were simply declared as cheaper models, a discrepancy that was seemingly overlooked by customs officials.
Thirty businesses are being investigated in relation to the undervaluation scheme, which Thai authorities have described as “difficult” work. Among those is Techaterasiri, who last week filed a suit to sue the DSI after they shut his showroom allegedly without a warrant.