SINGAPORE: The Competition Commission of Singapore has penalised 12 motor vehicle traders for engaging in bid—rigging activities at public auctions, contravening the Competition Act.
CCS said the action by the traders not to outbid each other created the false impression that the winning bids were actually the result of a fair and competitive bidding process. This resulted in lower bids for the motor vehicles for the government agencies whose public auctions were affected.
The infringements were conducted over a period of three years from January 2008 to March 2011.
The traders have been fined some S$180,000.
The CCS said investigations started in May 2010. It received information from various agencies, including the Land Transport Authority, the National Environment Agency, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Singapore Customs and the Singapore Police Force.
Investigations showed that the traders entered into an agreement to refrain from bidding against each other at public motor vehicles auctions held by the government agencies.
A sole bidder, usually Pang’s Motor Trading, would bid for the vehicles after which the traders would conduct their own "private" auctions for the vehicles that were earlier won at the public auctions.
The difference in the bid price of the vehicles between the public auctions and the "private" auctions would be put into a common pool and shared amongst those present at the "private" auctions.
Pang’s Motor Trading was fined the most, S$50,733. It was followed by Tim Bock Enterprise, which was fined S$37,795.
Most of the other traders —— namely Auto & Carriage Engineering, Gold Sun Motor Vehicle Charter & Rental, Hup Lee Second Hand Auto Parts, Kiat Lee Scrap Vehicles Centre Pte Ltd, Minsheng Agencies, PKS Scrap Vehicle Centre, Seng Guan Auto Parts and Seng Hup Huat Second Hand Auto Parts —— were fined S$8,000.
The remaining two traders are Kiat Lee Machinery Pte Ltd and Yong Soon Heng Auto Parts, who were fined S$17,566 and S$8,977 respectively.
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