SONGKHLA : A group of Singaporean travellers Sunday reclaimed their luxury cars, which were seized by customs officials at Sadao border checkpoint on Friday.
A caravan of 16 Singaporean travellers had driven their vehicles from Singapore via Malaysia to the border checkpoint in Songkhla on Friday.
They had hired a company to transport 14 of their luxury cars on a transporter from the checkpoint to Pattaya. The 14 vehicles were nine Porsches, one Ferrari, one Audi, one BMW, one Honda and one Subaru.
They then flew from Songkhla to Pattaya in Chon Buri, from where they waited to pick up their vehicles and drive them to Cambodia.
The company they had hired, Grape Transport AG, was the same firm that was transporting six luxury cars which caught fire in Nakhon Ratchasima on May 29. The fire drew attention to irregularities in the paperwork of the vehicles and prompted an investigation into tax evasion on imported luxury cars.
A customs source said the owners of the cars confiscated on Friday had proper entry documents as well as certificates for a caravan of travellers, issued by the Thai embassy and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office in Singapore.
However, their 14 luxury cars could not clear customs at the Sadao border checkpoint because the owners did not have a bank guarantee nor a guarantor or cash as a surety, as required by customs regulations, the source said.
As a result, officials did now allow the vehicles to pass the checkpoint and seized them temporarily while waiting for verification from the Thai embassy and the TAT office in Singapore, the source said.
A source who operates a tour company which liaised with the Singaporean travellers said they were the sons of Singaporean ministers and businessmen.
They did not drive their cars from Songkhla onwards because the conditions of the routes from the province to Pattaya are bad and could have damaged their vehicles, the source said.