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Govt Resolves Illegal Import Of Thousands Of Vehicles

Source: Vientiane Times

The government last year documented and processed the paperwork for 11,030 vehicles and motorbikes that had been imported unlawfully, according to an official report.

As much as 177.7 billion kip was generated from tariffs, taxes and fines levied on people who failed to follow the proper procedures.

A total of 4,449 vehicles were brought into the country illegally, including tractors, as well as 6,581 motorbikes, according to the report from the Ministry of Finance’s Customs Department.

Authorities in charge inspected and took steps to legalise the vehicles in question in two separate time periods from January to March and from August to October, Acting Director General of the Customs Department, Mr Bounpaseuth Sikounlabout told Vientiane Times on Monday.

This included providing documentation for 5,639 vehicles and motorbikes reportedly brought into Laos unlawfully, in line with the government’s announcement that ordered the ministry to take action.

A recent meeting of authorities in charge noted that further action was needed to regulate the issue after learning that many vehicle owners had not paid taxes.

Mr Bounpaseuth said the requisite taxes had not been paid on a number of vehicles and motorbikes with state-owned number plates (blue number plates), which were sold to officials at special prices.

In this regard, taxes must be paid and the number plates must be changed to private plates.

Investigations suggest that many vehicles are driven into Laos by foreign visitors from neighbouring countries, but these do not return to their country of origin.

“Foreigners drive here in their own vehicles on a tourist visa, which specifies a certain timeframe for their visit, but the vehicles are not recorded as returning after the visa expiry date,” the acting director said.

The vehicles may still be in Laos or they could have returned through another border crossing.
“We are looking into the matter, while improving our communication channels between border officials to follow up the movements of these vehicles,” he said.

Inspections also began of the 1,947 vehicles brought into Laos for export to a third country, to verify their destination and documentation. These vehicles are stored at the Thanalaeng Warehouse at the 1st Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge Customs Checkpoint.

“Our findings have been submitted to the government and we are now waiting for guidance on the matter,” Mr Bounpaseuth said.

Previously, the government ordered the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of National Defence to review the unlawful issuing of number plates for vehicles under their responsibility.

They were also asked to review the regulations concerning vehicle number plates in an attempt to prevent them being issued unlawfully.