Luxury Autos Seized in Manila Container in Smuggling Operation

smuggled cars seized at Manila container port
Bureau of Customs photo

Published Nov 2, 2020 3:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Philippines’ Bureau of Customs reports intercepting high-end luxury cars being smuggled into the country hidden inside international shipping containers. The Philippines prohibits the import of secondhand vehicles into the country.

The BOC reported that the container arrived at the Manila International Container Port on October 16 aboard a vessel from Kobe, Japan. The importer declared the contents of the container as furniture. The container was held at the terminal and the port’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service reported that the cars were discovered upon verification through a profiling and examination effort.

District Collector Romeo Allan Rosales said that the shipping container was concealing a Porsche sports car, a Bentley luxury car, a Mercedes Benz sports car, and parts from a Volkswagen. The contents of the container were seized at the MICP on October 20.

The value of the smuggled luxury automobiles was estimated at more than $400,000. 

A Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) was issued against the vehicles. The importer is now under investigation and may face charges for violation of the Philippines' Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). "The MICP is committed to preventing the illegal entry of items into the country,” said the BOC.

The Manila Mail newspaper reports that since 2018 the BOC has been destroying smuggled luxury cars instead of auctioning them after the seizure. This is being done to discourage smuggling and because smugglers routinely attempted to reclaim the cars by bidding in the auctions.