Penang car theft syndicate using electronics technology busted

GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA: Penang police have busted a vehicle theft syndicate using electronics technology to steal the vehicles, with the recent arrest of six men including the syndicate’s mastermind known as Ah Heng.

Its Criminal Investigation Department chief, Datuk Zainol Samah today said six luxury vehicles valued at about RM530,000 that were reported stolen, were found by a police special team set up to track down the syndicate, believed to be involved in 18 car theft cases since early this year.

“The suspects, aged between 20 and 60 years, were nabbed in raids conducted in a number of locations around Alor Star and Changloon, Kedah on July 18,“ he said at a news conference, here.

According to him, the group targeted keyless vehicles (using touch button) parked in the Prai and Bayan Baru industrial areas and stole these vehicles during day time when the owners were at work.

“By using special electronic gadgets like a jammer and smart key, the syndicate members needed less than 10 minutes to enter a vehicle and turn off its security system before driving off in the stolen vehicle.

“This syndicate also has the expertise to repaint the stolen vehicles, besides being the go-between in delivering these vehicles to be driven into Danok, southern Thailand through Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah,“ said Zainol.

Besides a Toyota Hilux, Honda CRV, Honda City Hybrid, Toyota Estima and two Honda Civic cars, the police special team also seized various vehicle number plates, fake road tax stickers, Touch ‘n Go cards, SmartTAGs, laptops and mobile phones.

Zainol said located near one of the houses that were raided was a workshop used by the syndicate to keep the stolen vehicles and for the registration number plates and road tax stickers to be changed, before these vehicles were to be smuggled into Danuk and sold to buyers there at around RM20,000 each.

He said two of the six men arrested had previous criminal records and all of them were now being remanded to facilitate the investigation under Section 379A of the Penal Code. They could face a jail term of not less than one year and not exceeding seven years, besides a fine, upon conviction.

He advised the management and workers in the state’s industrial areas to be more careful and to improve their vehicles’ security system so as to prevent their vehicles from being stolen.