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Theft syndicate stopped in their tracks

KUANTAN: Since early this year, a vehicle theft syndicate has been bringing in lorries and four-wheel-drive vehicles stolen in the Klang Valley before selling them to buyers at Felda settlements.
The syndicate were raking in between RM20,000 and RM30,000 from the sales of each vehicle before their illegal activities came to an end when police conducted an operation codenamed Ops Lejang between July 7 and July 25 at several districts.
Police arrested four suspects aged between 33 and 42 years old and recovered 15 stolen vehicles - 11 three-tonne-lorries and four Mitsubishi Pajero vehicles - from Felda settlements in Bentong, Temerloh, Pekan and Raub.
Acting on a tip-off, police picked one of the suspects on July 7 before he led to the arrest of two others on July 10 and the fourth suspect was detained on July 12.
The men led police to seize the stolen vehicles which were fitted with false registration and a lorry chassis was even recovered from Sungai Semantan in Temerloh, believed abandoned by the syndicate after dismantling the parts.
State Criminal Investigations Department Chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Othman Nanyan said initial investigations revealed there is demand from settlers from certain settlements prompting the syndicate members to bring and sell the vehicles.
"No documentation is involved and the business dealing involves cash. Settlers fail to gather proper information on the vehicle as they are tempted after being offered very low prices.
"Police is investigating if the syndicate members were involved in stealing the vehicles or they were middlemen hired to supply the stolen vehicles at the settlements. Our records show some of the lorries were stolen in several parts of the Klang Valley and also in Pahang," he said, police are tracking down the vehicle owners through the engine numbers.
Othman said the vehicles were only utilised inside Felda plantations and the Felda management has no knowledge over the business dealings between the syndicate and respective settlers.
He warned settlers not to buy or use the stolen vehicles at Felda settlements, and reminded them to immediately lodge a report if they notice individuals trying to offload such vehicles at a low price.
Last week, state police chief Datuk Rosli Ab Rahman told reporters that there has been an increasing trend of stolen vehicles sold to unsuspected buyers at Felda settlements.

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