KOTA KINABALU: Customs personnel in Labuan have seized 34 vehicles that belonged to owners who breached rules concerning the purchase of automobiles in duty-free islands in Malaysia.

The vehicles, worth over RM3mil, were seized after it was deemed the owners failed to return with the motorcars to Labuan after the expiry of the 90-day period to do so.

The seizure was made due to the violation of Item 14 of the Customs Duties (Exemption) Order 2017.

Labuan Customs director Aspalila Ag Tuah said her team had previously carried out a series of operations to track down the owners of the vehicle who had infringed on the rule.

“We seized 34 vehicles worth a combined RM3,085,030.78 during the duration of the exercise,” she said, in a press conference on Saturday (June 8).

Under Item 14 of the Customs Duties (Exemption) Order 2017, she explained, vehicles purchased in duty-free islands such as Langkawi and Labuan were allowed to enter and be in principal Customs area, or KUK, (areas that are not duty-free) for up to 90 days a year.

She said the seized vehicles were brought into KUKs under Item 14 but were only returned to the duty-free island beyond the deadline expiry.

“All the vehicles were seized for further probes,” Aspalila said, adding the investigation was framed under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967.

She also urged the public to cooperate with the department to combat smuggling activities.