GEORGE TOWN: Police in Penang have busted a vehicle theft syndicate that targeted keyless cars with the aid of special electronic equipment.
A total of six men, including the syndicate’s mastermind known as “Ah Heng”, were also arrested, Penang Criminal Investigation Department Chief Zainol Samah said on Monday (Jul 29).
Six stolen luxury vehicles valued at about RM530,000 (US$128,610) were also recovered by the authorities.
The syndicate, believed to be involved in 18 car theft cases since early this year, targeted keyless vehicles parked in the Perai and Bayan Baru industrial areas.
The thefts were carried out during the day while the car owners were at work, the police said.
“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.
The suspects, aged between 20 and 60 years, were nabbed in raids conducted in a number of locations around Alor Setar and Changloon in the neighbouring state of Kedah on Jul 18.
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.
Located near one of the houses that was raided was a workshop used by the syndicate to keep the stolen vehicles, Zainol said.
The syndicate also used the workshop to change vehicle registration number plates and road tax stickers before smuggling the cars to Thailand and selling them at about RM20,000 each.