Right-hand-drive cars seized-A A +A
Monday, September 9, 2013
A PAKISTANI car dealer was arrested by police on Friday for allegedly selling right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City, Cebu.
Confiscated inside the car shop of Safi Mahar, 33, were four P700,000-worth vehicles believed to be smuggled from Japan.
His Filipina business partner identified as Gloria Montecillo wasn’t inside Masu Auto Surplus Corp. on Ouano Avenue when the raid was made at 12:30 p.m.
The Regional Special Operations Group of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 conducted the raid with a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) 7 Branch 56 Judge Teresita Abarquez-Galanida last Sept. 6.
PO3 Jose Erwin Dumaguit, one of the raiding policemen, said Mahar and Montecillo were the subjects of the warrant after police received a tip on their illegal business.
When they swooped down on the car shop, Mahar was caught inside and wasn’t able to run away. He also didn’t put up a fight.
Police recovered two red Honda Fit, one black Honda Fit and one silver gray Nissan Cube.
Dumaguit said a Honda Fit vehicle is sold at P150,000 while the Nissan Cube comes with a price tag of P250,000.
He said Mahar had been selling RHD cars for some time because he’d been in Cebu for four years.
Dumaguit said Mahar had a car shop before in Barangay Cambaro until he moved in Barangay Subangdaku.
During an interview with police, Mahar was reportedly uncooperative and didn’t reveal where he gets his supply of RHD vehicles.
“Dili man siya motingog (He wouldn’t say a thing),” Dumaguit said.
When interviewed by reporters yesterday from his detention cell in PRO-7, Mahar refrained from issuing any statements because he doesn’t speak English well.
“I will just let my lawyer answer everything,” he said.
A complaint for violating Republic Act (RA) 8506, which bans the importation, registration and operation of RHD vehicles, will be filed against Mahar on Tuesday.
Under the law, it is unlawful for any person to import, register, or use any vehicle with its steering wheel right-hand side thereof in any highway, street or road, whether private or public or of the national or local government except such vehicles that are acknowledged as vintage automobiles or are to be utilized exclusively for motorsports events.
The penalty of prison correctional in its medium period and a fine of fifty thousand pesos P50,000 shall be imposed upon any person violating the provisions of this Act.
In an earlier interview, a law enforcement agency said the selling of converted vehicles is rampant in the country.
RHD vehicles were no longer used in other countries such as Japan because these had reached their life span, or newer units were already available.
It’s also not advisable to buy converted vehicles because these are traffic hazards.
Last March, some 17 RHD vehicles worth P5 million were seized by law enforcers from a car shop in Barangay San Roque, Talisay City, Cebu.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 09, 2013.