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President Duterte looks on as luxury cars get destroyed

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Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte looks on as luxury cars get destroyed in anti-corruption drive and campaign against illegal smuggling and imports

Duterte the destroyer: Philippine president watches as £4.2million worth of 'contraband' Lamborghini and Porsche supercars are CRUSHED by bulldozer in smuggling crackdown
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte destroyed smuggled luxury
The 68 cars and eight motorcycles had a value of more than £4.26million
Duterte cheered as cars were crushed in Cagayan, in northern Philippines

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte was seen enjoying the destruction of more than 75 luxury sports cars and motorcycles that had been smuggled into the country and seized by customs.

The 68 cars, which included Lamborghinis, Mustangs and Porsches, and eight motorcycles destroyed by the government on Monday, were reportedly worth a total of 298million Piso (£4.26million).

The President, wearing a white hard-hat, cheered on the bulldozers as they crushed the contraband vehicles in Sta Ana, Cagayan, in northern Philippines.

In a speech before the destruction took place, Duterte admitted that he knew he will not be able to eradicate corruption and smuggling in government during his term, but that bulldozing the cars was an important part of his plan.

'I did this [destroyed illegally imported cars] because you have to show to the world that you have a viable place of investment and business.

'And the only way to show it is that you are productive and that you have the economy, to absorb the productivity of the population,' Duterte said, adding that the first step would be to 'establish law and order' across the Philippines.

The vehicles destroyed yesterday were part of a recent haul of 800 contraband cars and motorcycles seized by port authorities in Cagayan, the President's Office said in a statement.

Duterte has carried out similar public stunts in the past, aiming to hammer home his anti-corruption message in the graphic way he has become known for since his 2016 election.

In February this year, he ordered dozens of sports cars and luxury vehicles, including Jaguars, BMWs and a Corvette Stingray worth around £850,000, destroyed in the capital Manila.

The Philippines Bureau of Customs seized £2.11million worth of smuggled vehicles last year, government data showed.

In the past, seized smuggled vehicles would be impounded and then auctioned off, with the government taking the proceeds.

However, Duterte has made it clear he would rather destroy the cars than have the government profit from crime.

The controversial president has made fighting corruption and illegal drugs the cornerstones of his six-year term.

Yesterday, Philippine police vowed to revamp and intensify a fight against crime and drugs, a week after Duterte promised no letup in a bloody crackdown that has alarmed the international community.

'Surgical and chilling will be the trademark of the reinvigorated anti-illegal drugs and anti-criminality campaign,' police chief Oscar Albayalde told a news conference.

Thousands of suspected drug dealers and users have been killed in the past two years in what police say were shootouts.

Police have rejected accusations by activists that suspects were being systematically executed, based on weak intelligence and with the assumed backing of Duterte.

Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have launched a preliminary examination to assess whether crimes against humanity may have been committed. Duterte in March cancelled the Philippines' ICC membership in protest.

Albayalde said Duterte's war on drugs would be 'recalibrated', and there would be renewed focus and intensity, with 'built-in safeguards' to ensure operations were lawful and protected human rights.

A police oversight committee would be formed, he said.

The police chief warned of 'frightful' consequences for anyone who continued to sell drugs.

He said police intelligence had identified 893 'high-value targets', warning that they and 'their patrons and protectors' would receive a 'strong message of the certainty of punishment'.

Albayalde said nearly 1.3 million drug users and street peddlers had surrendered, and that they would be strictly monitored, including 215,000 who have undergone rehabilitation.

Philippine police have several times promised to overhaul the anti-drugs campaign, although human rights groups say there has been little noticeable change.

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