KUALA LUMPUR: Ground intelligence, including surveillance and undercover activities, led police to cripple major car theft syndicates, bringing down the number of stolen vehicles drastically in the last five years.
Federal police are not letting up in “breaking” this billion-ringgit industry and are looking for those behind these elusive operations .
In 2013, a total of 70,847 vehicles, worth RM1.6 billion, were reported stolen nationwide.
But the number was reduced to 60,508 cases the following year, a decline in RM300mil worth of losses.
“In 2015, some RM1.2bil worth of losses were reported, followed by RM1.08bil in 2016, RM845,000 in 2017 and RM727,996 last year,” Senior Asst Comm (SAC) Datuk Khairuldin Saad told The Star.
The Bukit Aman CID D4 (operation/intelligence) principal assistant director said vehicles reported stolen have been on the decline.
There is a drop of 14.6% in 2014 compared to 2013, 10.7% in 2015 (compared to 2014), 10.4% in 2016, 12.9% in 2017 and 14.7% in 2018, he said.
“Vehicle theft is categorised as a property crime, which contributed to 40% of the nation’s crime index annually.
“In the last five years, vehicle thefts have been reduced from 70,847 cases in 2013 to 35,953 in 2018,” he said.
He added that the success was the result of tireless intelligence work conducted by the D4 officers.
“The decline in the number of such theft is a healthy trend.
“This is due to actionable intelligence and continuous enforcement operations,” he said.
SAC Khairuldin said stolen vehicles were shipped abroad or stripped for spare parts.
“Luxury cars, like Toyota Vellfire, Toyota Hilux, BMW and Mercedes Benz, have been known to be “exported” overland by ships in containers.
“Car theft syndicates falsified documents declaring the vehicles as electric parts or equipment.
“These vehicles were shipped to as far as Japan,” he said.
For overland, cross-boundary shipment, stolen vehicles were driven across to Thailand and Singapore.
“The vehicles were fitted with false registrations and taken across the border in the early morning, peak hour or nearing border closing time.
He said based on investigations, stolen vehicles were quickly driven to the border and smuggled into Thailand.
Cars targeted for parts were usually locally made vehicles such as Proton and Perodua, he added.
“Car theft syndicates were also known to dismantle the stolen vehicles in their own yard before selling the parts,” he said.
He added that based on their success over the years, there is only a small group of car thieves left.
“We will not rest on our laurels. we are going after these gangs,” he added.
He said they had also used the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) to curb car theft activities.
“Between 2014 and 2018, a total of 449 suspects were detained under Poca.
“We are also keeping a close watch on car thieves who had served their sentences and we have stepped up operations to nab those who are on the wanted list,” SAC Khairuldin said.
In 2013, 24,647 suspected car thieves were arrested, followed by 26,279 in 2014, 25,194 in 2015, 24,823 in 2016, 23,267 in 2017 and 19,958 in 2018.
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