Malaysian car-jacking syndicates smuggling cars to Asean countries through Thailand

Malaysian police Criminal Investigation Department director Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd (right) and Royal Thai Police adviser General Witaya Prayongpan looking at the vehicles which were handed over to the Malaysian police.
Malaysian police Criminal Investigation Department director Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd (right) and Royal Thai Police adviser General Witaya Prayongpan looking at the vehicles which were handed over to the Malaysian police.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGKOK - Malaysian car-jacking syndicates have been using Thailand as a transit point to smuggle stolen vehicles into other regional countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, Malaysia's national Bernama news agency reported.

More than 100 stolen Malaysian vehicles have been recovered in Thailand by Thai police since 2015, the Malaysian police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd said. The stolen vehicles have since been handed over to the Malaysian authorities.

"Thailand is a transit country for Malaysia's car-jacking syndicates," he was quoted telling reporters after receiving 20 stolen cars, mostly luxury vehicles, from Royal Thai Police adviser Gen Witaya Prayongpan during a ceremonyin Bangkok on Tuesday (Jan 9).

He said police forces from both nations would step up their cooperation to bust vehicle theft syndicates currently operating in both countries.

Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin said efforts were under way to track down the Malaysian leader of the syndicate.

Meanwhile, the RTP, in a statement issued after the handing-over ceremony, said stolen vehicles had been a long-standing issue and had impacted the economies of both countries adversely.

"Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and his deputy Gen Prawit Wongsuwan have always stressed the importance of tackling the issue as it has the potential to lead to other criminal activities.

"This is not merely about stolen motor vehicles but could potentially finance other activities of criminal nature such as terrorism," it said.