Customs seize $6m haul of smuggled cars

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 May, 1997, 12:00am

Customs officers have seized their largest haul of smuggled cars - in a consignment from Japan intended for the mainland market.

The shipment of 31 family cars with a total value of $6 million is also the first time cheaper models have been found en route to China.

The cars, including 25 with left-hand drive, could have been sold for triple their value if they had reached their destination of Huangpu in Guangzhou.

Superintendent Man Wing-yiu of Customs and Excise said the lower-priced models included Nissan Sunnys and Mitsubishi Lancers - worth between $100,000 and $200,000 in the territory.

Luxury vehicles like Mercedes Benz and BMWs intended for senior business figures are the usual types of cars found by Customs officers in Hong Kong and China.

'We believe these vehicles were intended for middle-class families on the mainland because they now have better incomes and can afford to have these kinds of vehicles,' Mr Man said.

The cars were discovered in six containers on board the Wu Zhou 3001 which was stopped off Green Island on Sunday night.

The cars were imported legally from Japan but there were no export documents.

Their 40-year-old owner was helping officers with the investigation yesterday.

The mainland crewmen were released and the vessel continued its journey to China.