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Importation of Stolen Vehicles Racket Exposed

10th January, 2019

Fiji Revenue & Customs Service has intercepted stolen vehicles imported into Fiji for the purpose of resale.

Over the past week, two motor vehicles that were reported stolen in New Zealand were smuggled into the country under the guise of spare parts and furniture but was intercepted at Lautoka Wharf by Custom Officers. Interceptions of the same nature were also made by Customs officers in 2018 for stolen vehicles imported from Australia.

Evidence is being gathered in what is beginning to look like a highly connected network of individuals working within organizations with intent to make money from proceeds of criminal activity.

In the most recent incident, investigations into the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) revealed that the Toyota Hilux which was registered as a rental car in New Zealand was reported stolen on 8th December 2017, while the Nissan Navara which was registered as a private vehicle in New Zealand was reported stolen on 4th December 2018.

The accused importer is reported to be a frequent traveler and is known to have travelled to New Zealand between 7th to 12th December 2018 just a few days after the vehicle was reported stolen. The shipment left Auckland on 20th December 2018 a week after the suspect returned to Fiji to clear his consignment.

CEO Mr. Das reiterates that Border Security is serious business and a collaborative approach is being taken with both local border agencies and international Customs Administrations globally to crack down on illegal activities. Under our Customs to Customs Cooperation arrangements intelligence sharing has intensified and we no longer work in isolation. While the Service is committed to facilitate trade, be rest assured that with the processes, systems and partnerships in place at the Border we will detect and intercept illegal activities and when we do offenders will face the full brunt of the law.

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