Car-theft scam bags 500th victim in central Thailand

Carpark attendant reported suspicious vehicles in his lot

Nonthaburi police have seized 70 vehicles involved in a car-theft scam by a gang that preyed on penniless car owners.

Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) commissioner Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej said Friday that police found 70 vehicles at a car park in Nonthaburi province.

The success came when a carpark attendant told police that some of the vehicles in his lot had been parked there by some dodgy guys he suspected of being gang members.

Thirty-nine of the cars were found to be evidence in theft cases already filed by victims, Jirabhop said.

In November last year, police arrested several suspected Jae Ploy Chon Buri gang members.

It’s a strange kind of theft, ingenious almost. None of the suspected perps have actually stolen any of the cars in question in any normal sense. No windows were broken, no ignitions jumped, and no software was hacked. No guns came through windows at intersections with orders to get out of the vehicle.

The owners of the cars actually delivered their vehicles to the thieves, handed over the keys without complaint and (presumably) walked away, perhaps even smiling.

The suspects placed advertisements online, encouraging people to use their vehicles as collateral in obtaining (illegal) loans from the syndicate. The actual physical cars had to be delivered to the thieves and after the vehicles were handed over, the gang simply kept them and sold them. The owners willingly placed them in the hands of the gang as part of a wholly illegal transaction. It’s a difficult tale to have to relate at the local cop shop.

The CIB investigation led to searches at seven locations in November last year. The bureau was able to locate 64 suspected car-theft scam victims in Nonthaburi.

Of the 64 vehicles, 56 turned out to already be evidence in cases filed with police by victims of the gang.

Since then, police have continued to retrieve vehicles misappropriated by the gang.

Before yesterday’s announcement, a total of 509 “victims” had been identified, with 511 cars taken by the gang and its network.

As far as possible, all vehicles involved in the car-theft scam have been returned to their owners.

Central Thailand NewsCrime News

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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