Thursday, July 18, 2019

Luggage to be X-rayed at airports by year-end, used-car imports to be banned: Customs

Jul 05. 2019
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By The Nation

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The Customs Department will get conveyor belt X-ray machines up and running by the end of this year, enabling it to scan all luggage in search of illegal items and brand-name items smuggled in to avoid paying taxes and to resell.

Customs Department director-general Krissada Jinawicharana said on Friday that his agency had just received and installed 23 conveyor belt X-ray machines at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport, which would be in use later this year.

The machines can scan all checked-in luggage and help officials detect illegal items such as narcotics or goods being smuggled in to avoid paying taxes. Until now, luggage has been randomly opened and searched, he said.

The agency will also develop an artificial intelligence system to link X-ray images with those from their counterparts in Asean countries in a move to boost effectiveness, he added.

In a separate measure, Krissada said Thai authorities will ban the import of second-hand cars from other countries into Thailand in a bid to reduce air pollution and to plug the loophole in which some people avoid paying proper taxes when bringing in luxury cars.

He said that the Customs Department and related agencies were discussing an action plan before the ban soon takes effect. Some 1,000 second-hand cars are now under its custody and must be processed and auctioned. 

If the Department of Land Transport refused to register these cars, the agency might have to refund the successful bidders, donate the respective cars, sell them for parts or destroy them. A solution will have to be discussed and determined with related agencies later, he said.

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