Garuda CEO Fired After Smuggling Branded Motorcycle On Plane In Indonesia

How far would you go to evade customs at taxes for your shopping?

Garuda Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) found that smuggling doesn’t pay the hard way — losing his job after getting caught for hiding his Harley-Davidson motorbike on a domestic Airbus plane.

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His ill-fated smuggling attempt now serves to caution us against being penny wise and pound foolish.

High-level Taobao shipping haul

Mr Ari Askhara, CEO of Garuda – Indonesia’s national airlines – bought a 1972 Harley-Davidson motorbike of an unspecified model.

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A similar used Shovelhead is listed on eBay at around S$27,208 (US$19,995).

Mr Ari added 2 more pricey items to his shopping haul that went undeclared on his trip. Here’s what else he bought:

  • 1972 Classic Harley-Davidson Shovelhead (S$27.2k)
  • Brompton Folding Bikes x 2 (S$1.6k/bike)

Brompton Bike – S$1,611.40 (£900)
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A Brompton Bike goes for a hefty starting price of S$1,611 on their website, but Mr Ari allegedly bought 2 “high-end” folding models.

Tried to smuggle 2 bicycles & a Harley on Airbus

Mr Ari’s motorcycle was transported in dismantled parts, and his alleged shopping haul was packed away in close to 20 boxes in total — without any customs declarations.

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He then tried to smuggle his purchases back home on a newly bought Airbus plane from Toulouse, France — which he flew alongside 21 other people to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Indonesia.

Garuda CEO fired over smuggling claims

When the plane landed on Sunday (1 Dec), Mr Ari’s secret was uncovered as there was “no cargo listed”, reports The Straits Times.

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Garuda’s CEO had also allegedly planned this purchase a year ago, having asked his employees in Europe to source for a Harley for him.

Unfortunately, this ill-fated smuggling attempt has now cost Mr Ari his job.

Evaded up to S$146,000 in customs duties

Authorities estimate that he evaded between S$48,700 to S$146,000 (Rp 0.5-1.5 billion) in luxury good taxes.

As this is now a criminal tax evasion case, the government will now examine the evidence carefully for other possible players.

Declare your luxury goods at customs

Though most of us can’t afford to shell out thousands of dollars on shopping sprees like Mr Ari, it’s still better to abide by the laws of the land.

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Especially since people who aspire to buy luxury items regularly, should be able to afford the duties as well.

Featured image adapted from Asia Nikkei, WikiCommons & eBay.