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Vehicle thieves get creative

BANGKOK: The latest police crackdown on vehicle theft by the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) has revealed that a large number of vehicles are being stolen by means other than being broken into.

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By Bangkok Post

Monday 23 July 2018, 08:47AM


A black Audi coupé is confiscated from a gang which allegedly forged its vehicle registration details. The gang is also suspected of involvement in car theft. Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham

A black Audi coupé is confiscated from a gang which allegedly forged its vehicle registration details. The gang is also suspected of involvement in car theft. Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham

Sakkarin Yingchatchawanchai, 28, fled before his houses were raided by CSD police last Tuesday (July 17). The suspect had faked his identity to avoid arrest for allegedly running a gang that stole vehicles and exported them.

Police seized 16 cars suspected to have been stolen, Pol Col Bunlue Phadungthin, chief of CSD’s subdivision 3, said.

Sakkarin had changed his name from Wirawat Sipodok, registered as a resident of Nonthaburi’s Bang Yai district. He previously ran an auto repair shop on Phibun Songkhram Rd in Nonthaburi.

The owner of a car rental business, who declined to be named, told the CSD that he agreed to lease a vehicle to Sakkarin, who appeared well-dressed and respectable. The suspect called the business on March 1 to rent a car for a month.

Sakkarin claimed his own car was being repaired and showed the car rental owner a repair document. He also gave copy of his identity card, the victim said.

After he took the rental car out, Sakkarin paid a daily rent of B600 for 10 days before telling the car rental business owner that he was having an issue with his finances. After that, he was never heard from again, according to the owner.

The CDS said Sakkarin also allegedly had other tricks up his sleeve to steal cars. He encouraged people with financial problems to pawn their vehicles with him, but then went on to sell them on the black market, Col Bunlue said.

CSD investigators found pawn and loan documents in Sakkarin’s houses during last Tuesday’s raid. They also confiscated six motorcycles and four guns and ammunition for inspection.

Also last week, CSD raids caught a gang believed to have connections with a car theft network.

The gang sold used luxury cars illegally to unsuspecting customers, Col Bunlue said.

Police are looking into information which might link the gang to any car theft ring, and have confiscated fake vehicle registration plates from the used car business, said the CSD subdivision chief.

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Police managed to track down one of the vehicles, a black Audi coupé, which the gang had sold to a customer for B12 million at a petrol station on Pradit Manutham Rd in Bangkok.

According to investigators, checks found the Audi coupé was registered with the Department of Land Transport as a white vehicle with another registration number. The registration record shows the car belonged to Phongphan Kasemsawat who died in a car crash eight years ago.

Mr Phongphan, 39, together with his wife, Benchamat Masing, was driving the car when the accident occurred on a road between Kanchanaburi’s Phanom district and Nakhon Pathom’s Kamphaeng Saen district.

The man was killed on the spot while his wife was severely injured.

The damaged Audi car was later repaired and sold to the gang which forged the vehicle registration number.

“Certain state officials must have been involved [in the number plate forgery],” Col Bunlue said, adding that someone had almost certainly helped the gang bypass the strict regulations of the registration process.

In a third raid last week, the CSD arrested a member of a gang which allegedly stole motorcycles to sell in Myanmar.

The crackdown was headed by Pol Col Maen Menyaem, chief of CSD’s subdivision 4. His team nabbed a man identified as Athippati Tulathong. He allegedly colluded with a Myanmar accomplice called Hatsan who bought the stolen motorcycles from Athippati.

Athippati, who is wanted on multiple arrest warrants, was nabbed in a housing estate in Ratchaburi’s Ban Pong district. His arrest followed a raid on a gang of five earlier this year after police found they dismantled stolen motorcycles and sent them across the border as spare parts. According to Col Maen, Athippati did not use a sophisticated method, he just stole motorcycles parked in security blind spots at night. Col Maen said Athippati has a knack for avoiding arrest and had been committing the crime in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces for more than 10 years.

The 29-year-old suspect has not renewed his identity card since the age of 15 which has made it hard for police to pin him down despite there being four arrest warrants for charges including motorcycle theft and depriving a minor from parental care in his name, added Col Maen.

Read original story here.

 

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