Five Lexus cars abandoned at Da Nang Port

VietNamNet Bridge - Taking advantage of the incentives on imported cars of Vietnamese repatriates, luxurious cars have been smuggled into Vietnam.

The Da Nang Customs Department has held five Lexus brand cars worth at least $1 million, which were imported as the assets of Vietnamese repatriates for investigation. Earlier, a HCM City-based company refused to receive the cars, saying that the vehicles “were sent to a wrong address.”

"Supercars" are denied

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The five supercars are being preserved at the warehouse of the Tien Sa Port. The maintenance cost per container has reached almost VND500 million ($25,000).

On June 1, 2013, cargo ship Wan Hai 263 shipped a container with three Lexus LX570 from the port of Oakland (USA) to the Tien Sa port (Da Nang).

The receiver is a private company based in Tan Binh District, HCM City – the PN Co., Ltd. The cars were imported as the assets of repatriates.

When the company did not fulfill procedures to receive the three "super cars," two more Lexus cars from Hong Kong, sent to PN Co., Ltd. arrived at the Tien Sa Port as the vehicles of repatriates.

The cars were left at the port for more than 30 days since the day they arrived at the airport. PN did not complete formalities to take the cars.

On February 26, PN unexpectedly refused to receive the three Lexus from the US, reasoning that they were wrongly delivered. On June 3, the company continued to refuse the two cars from Hong Kong, with the same reason.

The Da Nang Customs Agency asked PN Company to show documents proving that the shipments were "wrongly delivered" but the firm could not to prove that. Therefore, the customs agency did not allow re-exporting these cars for investigation.

These cars are worth from VND30-35 billion ($1-1.3 million). "The return of shipments of luxurious cars worth tens of billions dong happened for the first time in Da Nang," a customs officer said.

Police launch investigation into the case

According to the Customs Department of Da Nang Ports, so far this year this body has investigated the origin of more than 20 expensive cars that were imported as vehicles of repatriates.

Mr. Nguyen Quang Lang, Director of the Customs Department of Da Nang Ports, said that the Da Nang customs body and the policy are investigating the import of five Lexus. PN Company was requested to provide the names of the real owners of the cars for clarification whether they are repatriates or not. However, the firm has not yet supplied the information.

The five supercars are being preserved at the warehouse of the Tien Sa Port. The maintenance cost per container has reached almost VND500 million ($25,000).

Green cards and derelict cars

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The passport of Mr. T, issued by the Vietnam Embassy in the US.

Related to the abandoned Lexus at the Tien Sa port, some repatriates said that their "green cards" were borrowed by someone for shady purposes.

Mr. T, a repatriate who resides in Thanh Khe District - Da Nang city, said in 2003, he went to the United States to live with his son in Washington, DC, and then came back to Da Nang from August 2004.

T said he has the documents relating to his trip to the U.S. to live with his family and a certificate of permanent residence in the United States (also known as a green card).

In late 2012, a young girl named Dung, who he had never known before, came to see him. "She told me about her relations with rich people and solicited me to borrow my documents and my green card for a few months time," T. recalled.

The girl also told T that she borrowed his green card for two months to import a car from the US and she would give him $3,000. "I trusted her so I gave her my ID card, family registration, green card and my photos," said T.

In January 2013, T called Dung. She said the affair nearly finished but the authorities tightened control over the import of cars so she asked to reduce the kickbacks to $2,000. Mr. T. agreed but Dung did not give him the kickbacks.

Several months later, Mr. T. received a stranger, who gave him his documents, plus a passport bearing his name, granted by the Vietnam Embassy in the United States on January 9, 2013, valid for 10 years (until January 9, 2023).

"He said that these documents came from Dung. I thought that everything was done so I called her to claim $2,000 as she had promised. But she turned off the phone. I came to her home but the neighbors said she had moved away," Mr. T. said.

T. said that he found himself losing nothing but had a new passport, so he forgot the incident. Until the media published stories about dozens of luxury cars imported from the United States as the assets of repatriates on the unclaimed status, he was then startled.

In this regard, a Da Nang customs officer said to know whether T. is involved to the five Lexus at Tien Sa port or not, and they must wait for those who come to show documents to receive the cars.

T. said he knew of several similar cases but they received kickbacks of $2,000-3,000/one set of records so they do not dare to show up. A few people did not receive the money but they were afraid to declare, he said.

Mai Hoa

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