PORT KLANG: An Egyptian man was among five members of the “Botak Siva” syndicate detained last month by the Selangor police in connection with cannibalising stolen lorries and selling their components overseas.
Malaysian police, with help from their Singapore counterparts and the international police organisation INTERPOL, have so far seized lorry components worth about RM2 million (US$510,880).
Selangor police chief Mazlan Mansor said on Wednesday (Feb 21) that the 30-year-old Egyptian was detained at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 24, on suspicion of being a middleman for the sale of spare parts and lorry components from the syndicate.
Four others aged between 33 and 44, including the syndicate's suspected mastermind, were also arrested in Klang and Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, between Jan 23 and Feb 13.
Mr Mazlan said the suspected mastermind was arrested during a raid by the Klang South police at an unnumbered warehouse in Taman Johan Setia, Klang, on Jan 23, along with a Bangladeshi man who was in the midst of cannibalising a lorry, believed to be stolen.
"Follow-up investigations, with the assistance of the Singapore police and INTERPOL, led to the seizure of a container in the island republic’s port, which was loaded with hundreds of cannibalised lorry components.
“The container was then brought back to Port Klang for inspection," he said.
He said among the lorry components found in the container were 13 engines, six exhaust pipes, 49 front shock absorbers, 22 doors, 27 driveshafts and 14 steering wheels.
According to Mr Mazlan, the syndicate was believed to have been active since 2015, and its modus operandi was to steal lorries using a “jammer”.
"Every lorry has a 'remote', and when a 'jammer' is used, it can affect the remote frequency and allow the door to be opened easily. The stolen lorry is then taken to the warehouse before it is stripped of its parts. Among the brands of lorries included Isuzu, Scania and Hino.
"We believe all chassis numbers from the engines were erased, and all the components were put in containers for export to other destinations such as Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt.
“The (shipping) route used is from Port Klang to the Singapore Port and onwards to Port Said in the Middle East," he said.
Mr Mazlan added that initial investigations revealed four exports were made in 2017, namely, twice to Pakistan and twice to Egypt, with an estimated value of RM12 million.
The suspects were remanded for investigations under Section 413 of the Penal Code for habitually dealing in stolen property.
Meanwhile, Mr Mazlan said the police had set up a task force to track down seven other individuals to facilitate investigations.
They are R Rajandran, 44; P Sarawanan, 31; N Ganesan, 36; S Sivvaneswaran, 44; S Kalai Selvam, 38; M Kannan, 35; and S Vigneswaran, 46.