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Customs seizes illegally imported vehicles

Cars and motorbikes were found in two containers imported as timber.



A shipment of illegally imported vehicles has been seized in a joint operation conducted by police and customs officers, the Maldives Customs Service said on Tuesday.

The vehicles were found last Saturday in two containers falsely labelled as timbre, customs said in a press statement. There were three cars, two pickups, two vans and 14 motorcycles.

The cost and freight value of the vehicles was estimated at MVR586,000 (US$38,000) and MVR558,000 would have been owed as import duties. The case is under further investigation, customs said.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 11,319 new vehicles were registered last year, an 11.6 percent rise from 2017.

This puts the total number of vehicles at 108,532, which includes 89,897 motorcycles, 6,325 cars and 2,931 pick-ups.

Some 9,038 new motorcycles were registered last year and the number is set to increase with the new Sinamale bridge connecting Malé and Hulhumalè favoring motorists over public transport.