Corrupt customs officials and dealerships were both involved.
According to The Guardian, dozens of London supercars and exotics, including Lamborghinis, Porsches and BMWs, were stolen and shipped to Thailand in what appears to be an organized crime scam. Police officials from both countries are now rushing to capture the perpetrators and shut down the ring. Officials in Bangkok, acting on behalf of their UK counterparts, have already conducted a series of raids against dealers over the past few weeks. The scam was further fueled by the aid of dealers and corrupt customs officials.
How did they pull it off? For starters, vehicles taken outright from the street were only declared stolen by their owners, who bought them on credit, once they were at sea on the way to Asia. Those owners then stopped making their monthly payments. "To date 38 (stolen) UK vehicles, identified by their engine and chassis numbers and valued at over 2.3 million GBP have been imported to Thailand,” according to Britain’s National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service. "Seven of the 38 vehicles identified were seized by the DSI (Thailand’s Department for Special Investigations) from a used car dealership in Bangkok."
There was another more complex way the crime ring operated, and this is where those crooked custom officials are involved. At least two of the stolen vehicles were disassembled in the UK and reassembled once they arrived in Thailand in order to avoid the triple tax rate. And then there was this situation: at least eight Lamborghinis, the most popular choice of the 122 seized vehicles, were declared as being the Gallardo when, in fact, they were the more expensive Aventador. Customs officials either didn’t notice (doubtful) or turned a blind eye. However, it was the Thai dealers who were the most guilty of under-declaring the cars’ real value.
A total of 30 businesses are suspected of doing this. Unfortunately, because Thailand’s justice system is notoriously slow, this will all take time to investigate, but scams like this prove once again those with money and connections will go to great lengths to avoid paying taxes, which they can easily afford.