Bangkok – Syndicates are expanding their reach by sending stolen vehicles by container ship from Singapore to Thailand’s Laem Chabang Port and elsewhere in Indochina. Vehicle theft syndicates in Malaysia are not limiting their so-called “business” just to the closest neighbouring country, Thailand, but are believed to have expanded to Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
A source, who disclosed the syndicates’ modus operandi, said chances would be very slim to find the stolen vehicles if they reached those Indochina countries.
He believed that the vehicle theft syndicates in these countries had strong networking among them that complicated the authorities’ efforts in handling the cross-border crime.
“It is believed that the cars stolen in Malaysia are transported via sea by container ship from Singapore.
“Then, it will stop at its first destination, Thailand. It is also believed that Laem Chabang Port, in Thailand, is their main destination (to unload the stolen vehicles),” he told Bernama recently.
Depending on the situation, the source said some of the stolen vehicles in the container would be unloaded in Thailand. The remaining cargo would continue the journey to other Indochina countries.
If the cars were not sold in Thailand, there was also the possibility of the unloaded stolen vehicles being smuggled into neighbouring countries by land.
Thailand shares its land border with three Indochina countries, namely Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, possibly as the final destinations for the stolen vehicles, he said.
“If it reaches those countries, the chances to find them are as good as zero.”
He said information on the stolen vehicles in the three Indochina countries would be hard to obtain.
According to him, one of the latest and popular trends to sell or dispose of stolen Malaysian vehicles in Thailand was through online websites.
Early this month, Thai police handed over 22 stolen Malaysian vehicles worth RM2.2 million found in that country to the Malaysian police.
Last year, Thailand authorities seized 18 luxury vehicles believed to be smuggled by the syndicates via Laem Chabang Port, he said.
The 18 cars, he said, were believed to be only part of 43 luxury vehicles from Malaysia smuggled into Thailand via a container ship, which departed from Singapore.
“However, the remaining 25 cars cannot be traced until today.”
Similarly, for the past several years, he noted that a number of luxury cars and multi-purpose vehicles, believed stolen in Malaysia, were found driven by new owners at the Myanmar-Thai border, Cambodia and Laos.
He said stolen four-wheel drive vehicles were very popular on Myanmar’s black market while luxury cars and MPVs were famous among Cambodia’s black market customers.
There were also allegations that the stolen vehicles were used by high-ranking police, armed forces and government officers in certain Indochina countries with new registration.
Source: Free Malaysia Today (Bernama)