PLA vehicles will be exempted from border checks in the future, the Customs chief said yesterday. Lawrence Li Shu-fai, Commissioner of Customs and Excise, said the existing law which empowers officials to check all vehicles needed to be changed. He said the PLA's Garrison Law now in force stated that local law enforcement officers had no right to check PLA vehicles but the existing exemption list used by the Customs and Excise Department did not include the PLA. 'It's not conflicting but I believe we would have better co-ordination if the law was modified. I hope we will soon have an arrangement on operational matters,' he said. 'I believe in the future the PLA in Hong Kong will be exempted,' he said on Commercial Radio. In May, the head of the advance PLA party, Major-General Zhou Borong, had a confrontation with Customs officers who asked for a closed-road permit. Customs chiefs later admitted they had circulated a list of PLA vehicle registration numbers to border officers. That document was later withdrawn amid legislators' anger and officials said they retained the right to check cars of the incoming Garrison. Mr Li said yesterday discussions had been launched between Customs officials and the PLA on how to deal with army personnel suspected of smuggling or other offences. He said the department had suggested to the PLA that a joint operation would take place if there were PLA vehicles suspected of smuggling. 'Though I believe the PLA will not be involved in smuggling activities, we will notify the PLA headquarters and conduct a joint check if we have suspicions, perhaps that non-army staff, relatives or other related people are in the vehicles,' he said. PLA vehicles are believed to have been travelling to and from Shenzhen on a daily basis since the handover carrying food and other supplies to the 4,700 soldiers stationed here. 'After half a month, Customs officers have not checked any of the PLA vehicles at the border. But if they are found to be suspicious, we will act in accordance with the law to inspect,' Mr Li said. He said Customs officers would inform officers at PLA headquarters of the SAR Garrison and ask for their help before conducting any inspection. He said he had appointed an officer to liaise with the PLA to confirm cross-border traffic details.