TWENTY luxury vehicles smuggled into the Philippines and seized by police were unapologetically destroyed by bulldozer on live TV, overseen by the country’s merciless president, Rodrigo Duterte.
The amassed total value of all the crushed vehicles is estimated at $1.5 million.
Included in the group on automotive death row was a McLaren 720S, which retails for $489,900 in Australia, along with an Alpina BMW, Ferrari 430, Lamborghini Gallardo and McLaren 650S. However, these were not visible during the broadcast.
Other trafficked vehicles included a Lexus, Corvette Stingray, Ford Explorer, Jaguar Type S, Audi S5 and a Jeep Wrangler.
The vehicular destruction is part of Duterte’s heavy-handed crackdown on corrupt lifestyles in the Philippines. Under the country’s previous administration, smuggled cars were seized and then sold at auction.
This led to a situation where smugglers would import vehicles illegally, under false names – knowing that they would be seized – and then simply buying the cars back cheaply at auction allowing them to avoid expensive taxes and tariffs.
"You're the only ones who know about the auction, you disrespect the Filipinos," Mr Duterte said on his Presidential Communications Facebook page.
"That's why you have many cars then after the auction, you are given papers legally and at a cheaper price.
"Watch what will happen with your money and all these imported luxury cars. I'll run them over with a tractor."
The destruction of the vehicles fell on the 116th anniversary of the Philippine’s Bureau of Customs.
Nine of the destroyed vehicles were seized at the Port of Manilla, two at the Manila International Container Port, nine at the Port of Subic, seven at the Port of Davao, and three at the Port of Cebu.
Just three of the cars were listed as new vehicles (a pair of Toyotas and a Mercedes-Benz), with the rest being labelled as second-hand.
President Duterte rose to power in 2016 and has become notorious for his human rights violations surrounding the extrajudicial killings of alleged drug offenders.
The 71-year-old is reported to be a fan of large motorcycles, and to have a personal dislike for luxury vehicles.
While the president remains popular in the country, many of his political opponents have been silenced or detained.
When Duterte was the president of Davao City he signed an executive order lowering the speed limits across the board “in the interest of public safety and order”.