LABUAN: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) Labuan seized 34 vehicles, including high-end models, with unpaid duties amounting to RM3,085,030.78 after a series of operations this year.

Labuan customs director Aspalila Awang Tuah said that the seized vehicles include luxury brands such as BMW, Toyota Vellfire, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi Q7, and the operation was conducted in the mainland of Sabah.

She said other confiscated vehicles include Toyota Harrier, Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Altis, Toyota Rush, Honda CRV, and Subaru.

“Compared to last year’s record of 16 cases, this year, in less than six months, we have already recorded 34 cases,” Aspalila said during a press conference at the Kiamsam Customs office.

Aspalila said the modus operandi often involves bringing vehicles outside the duty-free island, referred to as Kawasan Utama Kastam (KUK), under the facilities of Item 14, Customs Duty (Exemption) Order 2017.

However, she said these vehicles fail to return within the stipulated 90 days.

She said the cases are currently being investigated under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967.

Aspalila said if the owners do not settle the unpaid duties or compound the cases, they will be taken to court for legal action, and the vehicles could go tender process for auction.

She emphasised the commitment of the Labuan Customs to tackle the smuggling issue that has been causing significant revenue leakage from this duty-free island.

Additionally, Aspalila called on the public to assist the Labuan Customs in combating smuggling crimes involving cigarettes, liquor, firecrackers, drugs, vehicles, and other contraband.

She highlighted the broader impact of smuggling, which not only causes revenue loss but also poses threats to national security and the welfare of the populace.

“Smuggling is detrimental not only to the nation’s revenue but also poses a threat to national security and public safety,” she said.