Stealing honed to a fine art

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Stealing honed to a fine art

Postby admin » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:06 pm

KUALA LUMPUR: The process of stealing a vehicle involves several parties, including brokers, car specialists, runners and thieves.

It begins when a foreign buyer informs a broker in his own country that he wants a vehicle of a specific make and model.

Once the order had been placed, the broker contacts his counterpart in Malaysia who then gets in touch with his collaborators.

The syndicate usually gets between RM2,000 and RM3,000 for a vehicle. The thieves will go out in pairs to their favourite hunting grounds such as car parks and quiet roads.

When the targeted vehicle is located, one member will disable the alarm system while his partner will break into the car. The vehicle is transported to a pre-arranged location, usually in a car park of a condominium.

The registration plate of the car is changed and a duplicate key is made before the stolen car is taken to the car park. The duplicate key is then taped to one of the tyres or placed in the glove compartment.

The broker is then informed that the car is ready.

Police sources revealed that there was no face-to-face contact between the broker and the thieves. This was to ensure the smooth operations of the syndicate in case one party got caught.

The broker will then go to the car and place an envelope inside containing between RM500 and RM1,000 which is the fee for the runner to drive the stolen car to the exit point where it is smuggled out of the country.

"There have been cases where the runners drive the stolen cars to buyers in Bangkok and as far as China," the source said.

"The syndicates employ skilled people who can falsify documents to the extent everything looks genuine at first glance. Other professionals are hired by the syndicate to change the engine chassis number."

Police have now roped in the Customs and Road Transport Department to keep a close eye on all exit points in the country.

"Routine checks are also conducted at second-hand car dealers and workshops to probe for possible links to car theft syndicates."

The source revealed that there had been previous cases where stolen vehicles were left at second hand car dealers' outlets and at workshops before they were shipped out.

"Stolen local cars are never exported. They are cannibalised for their parts," the source said.

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RM400m car claims: Almost 9,000 vehicles stolen last year

Postby admin » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:07 pm

KUALA LUMPUR: Insurance companies forked out a staggering RM400 million on stolen vehicle claims last year alone.

Latest figures released by General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) showed 8,673 private cars were reported stolen last year.

The foreign-make vehicles were sent overseas while the local ones were cannibalised for their parts.

This was revealed by PIAM officials who last month accompanied police to Dubai where 24 stolen cars were retrieved.

The stolen vehicles, mostly of Japanese make, included cars and sports utility vehicles which had been reported stolen here more than two years ago.

The Malaysian contingent had discussions with the authorities in Dubai on the syndicate’s modus operandi there.

Police sources told the New Straits Times that local car theft syndicates received “orders” from China, Cambodia, Sierra Leone and even South Africa.

Hong Kong was also identified as a market for stolen Malaysian cars. In 2007, Malaysian police retrieved luxury cars worth RM1.5 million from the former British colony.

It was learnt that the vehicles which were sought after were the latest models with emphasis on performance and power.

Investigations also revealed pick-up trucks such as Mitsubishi Storm, Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger were in great demand.

Foreign buyers normally pay between US$2,700 (RM9,800) and US$60,000 for a stolen vehicle. A Mercedes-Benz S350L, which costs nearly RM1 million in Malaysia, is sold for a mere RM217,000.

Police have identified several transit points, including Thailand and Singapore, where stolen Malaysian cars were smuggled to before being sent to their final destinations.

Investigations also revealed that the vehicles were sent to the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.

Police sources also revealed that there were at least four syndicates operating out of Malaysia, with the masterminds stationed overseas.

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Four key suspects hiding overseas

Postby admin » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:09 pm

KUALA LUMPUR: Four men, all hiding abroad, have been identified as the main players involved in car theft rings operating in Malaysia.

Details on three of the four suspects are sketchy but the fourth has been detected enjoying a life of luxury in a neighbouring country.

A police source said the 45-year-old suspect had been identified as having a diverse range of business interests including used-car shops and hotels.

"The suspect's business interests is a perfect front for his illegal activities as his used-car outlets are used to dispose of the stolen vehicles," said the source.

It is learnt that the suspect owns used-car shops in Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Myanmar.

Police investigations revealed that the suspect purchased stolen vehicles from local car thieves for between RM7,000 and RM30,000 before exporting the vehicles through shipping containers.

Once the stolen vehicles reached their destinations, the engine and chassis numbers were tampered with before the cars were sold to unsuspecting customers.

It was also learnt that the suspect also owned prime tracts of real estate and a yacht.

His activities came to light recently when a raid by a Customs team at Port Klang uncovered eight vehicles in containers marked as furniture about to be loaded on to a ship bound for Batam, Indonesia.

Four people were arrested in that operation and following interrogation of the suspects, the mastermind was uncovered.

A joint task force was formed by federal police headquarters and Selangor police to track down the mastermind and his accomplices.

The man, who began his "career" 20 years ago stealing cars, has several convictions and has served time in prison.

Using his "experience on the ground", he decided to co-ordinate the shipping of vehicles to foreign destinations.

In 2003, he was picked up by police and banished to Perak but continued to run his "empire" with the aid of computers and mobile phones before deciding to set up shop in the neighbouring country.

Although details were not available on the other three main players, it was reliably learnt that their activities are similar to that of the suspect.

"They are all hiding abroad and have diversified their business interests into loan-sharking activities and other legal ventures.

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