Rent, run and sell: How car theft syndicates in Malaysia evade laws

These vehicles are sold at very low prices of between RM3,000 (S$913) and RM70,000, depending on the types and makes. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

PETALING JAYA - Car thieves in Malaysia are doing it the easy way now. They pay a small fee to rent luxurious cars, disable the Global Positioning System (GPS) in them and go off the radar.

Apart from the bare minimum effort, such syndicates are also enjoying their new modus operandi given the lack of legal action against them so far.

Many victims, most of them big companies and even app-based car rental providers, claim their cases were not even considered a crime. Instead, they were told to initiate legal action against the “renters” for “breaching their contract”.

Meanwhile, the syndicates put up the vehicles – which are not blacklisted as “stolen” – for sale.

The Star’s months of investigation found that these vehicles are sold at very low prices of between RM3,000 (S$913) and RM70,000, depending on the types and makes.

Their favourites include Toyota Vellfire, Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Proton Wira and Perodua Myvi.

Some of these cars are sold locally, while others are driven into Thailand and sold as a unit or for spare parts.

Victims wishing to get back their vehicles would be asked to pay around RM5,000 to RM10,000, or they can bid their cars goodbye.

Selling these stolen vehicles locally is not a problem, especially with the anonymity offered by social media and other online selling platforms.

Claiming they are selling vehicles with loan defaults, these syndicates are actively promoting their stolen “goods” in many groups, including online marketplaces.

Kereta JT or Jual Terus (direct sales), Kereta Piang or Piang Lari Bank (cars with outstanding loans) and Kereta Murah (cheap cars) – these are just some of the many identifications used by these syndicates to hide the vehicles’ actual status.

One of the victims, Nasrul, 37, shared screenshots of his stolen Toyota Hiace being advertised on an online platform.

“A friend of mine tried to approach the seller but the man claimed the van had already been sold.

“They didn’t put the price but they stated the van’s years of release,” the victim said.

The man who hijacked his car was seen actively selling vehicles in groups on Facebook and even Telegram.

What’s more perplexing is that some of these syndicates were believed to be able to provide grants for the vehicles.

Some also provide fake grants, which can only be detected if authorities check and compare the chassis numbers on the document with those embedded in the car’s engine.

“Luxury cars have their chassis numbers far underneath their engine, so it is hard for the authorities to check during roadblocks, so these buyers have nothing to be afraid of. They can roam freely,” said another victim who requested anonymity.

The Star has reached out to the police for comments. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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