GEORGE TOWN: Police have crippled a luxury car theft syndicate following the arrest of seven people, including a woman, earlier this month.
Penang police chief Comm Datuk T. Narenasagaran said a team of police officers from the state headquarters’ criminal investigation department conducted raids at several locations in Kedah, Perlis and Perak on Feb 1.
He said police successfully arrested six men and a woman, aged between 25 and 48, in the raid, adding that all the suspects had records, comprising 15 criminal offences and three drug-related offences.
He said the suspects were previously remanded in Johor for stolen vehicles that were reported there before they were brought to Penang to assist in further investigations.
Comm Narenasagaran said that during the raid, the police seized three vehicles believed to be stolen cars, several equipment used to steal vehicles, 15 mobile phones, two laptops and several pieces of fake road tax.
He said as a result of the investigation, the group dubbed “Geng Motokar Mewah” was believed to have been involved in stealing 30 vehicles around Penang, Kedah and Johor.
“With the arrest of this group members, the police have successfully solved 11 cases of vehicle theft, nine in Penang and two in Johor.
“Police believe that many more luxury vehicle theft cases can be solved based on the confession of this group,” he said during a press conference at the state police headquarters here yesterday.
Comm Narenasagaran said the syndicate’s modus operandi was to target luxury vehicles that were parked by the roadside such as Toyota Vellfire, Toyota Alphard, Toyota Fortuner and Toyota Hilux.
“This group carries out their illicit activities by using computerised gadgets to hack into the security system of the vehicle.
“This group uses a pick tool to open the car door and then use a key programmer to hack into the vehicle’s data system.
“This key programmer will be connected to the car by using a socket and subsequently press the push button to turn on the engine.
“After the vehicle is successfully turned on and hidden, all the data contained in the key programmer will be transferred to a smart key tool that functions as a remote control,” he said.
Comm Narenasagaran said all the stolen vehicles were sent to neighbouring countries and sold at a price of between RM18,000 and RM42,000 per vehicle.
“We believe they used the land route to the countries,” he said.