Authorities find Harley Davidson parts, Brompton folding bikes allegedly smuggled in new Garuda Indonesia jet

Boxes of Harley Davidson parts allegedly smuggled into Indonesia on Nov. 17, 2019. Photo: Istimewa via Detik
Boxes of Harley Davidson parts allegedly smuggled into Indonesia on Nov. 17, 2019. Photo: Istimewa via Detik

Luxury shoppers of the thrifty kind are quite common in Indonesia, where we often hear about people smuggling luxury goods to escape high import taxes.

Authorities believe that such a scheme was used to bring in Harley Davidson parts and two Brompton folding bicycles — all estimated to be worth tens of millions of rupiah — into Indonesia lately. 

According to reports, the luxury items, which generally cost more when sold through Indonesian retailers, were smuggled in boxes in the cargo of a brand-new Airbus A330-900 flag carrier Garuda Indonesia had just ordered from France. The jet touched down in Indonesia on Nov. 17.

“We’re looking into it … if [the goods were smuggled illegally] then value-added tax and income tax apply,” Customs and Excise office spokesman Deni Surjantoro told CNBC Indonesia yesterday.

Officials have yet to disclose who smuggled the goods into Indonesia. Garuda said that it merely transported the cargo, which was checked in by one of the 22 passengers who were invited as special guests for the jet’s first flight to Indonesia. 

Tax authorities in Indonesia have been cracking down on illegal luxury goods in recent months, with much emphasis placed on the monitoring of personal shoppers (locally referred to as jastip) who buy goods abroad for their customers in Indonesia. Among the luxury goods reportedly seized in recent busts include the new iPhone and luxury handbags — both of which are cheaper abroad. 

In light of the Harley Davidson and Brompton discovery, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani called on authorities to step up their screening of goods that enter Indonesia through its ports.

“So if we heighten our security, they (the smugglers) will also become more sophisticated, so we must step up our law enforcement, intelligence, and customs and excise,” she said, as quoted by Detik.

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