PETALING JAYA: The main people behind a car scam syndicate, that targets vehicle owners who sell their cars online, continue to elude police.
The mastermind remains at large, while two suspects who were caught last week were released barely a day later despite the fact that one of them confessed to the police.
The failure of the police to take action on those involved has been attributed to the complex nature of the scheme.
“The syndicate manipulated and used loopholes in the law,” a police spokesman said.
The mastermind continues to run his car dealership business although at least a dozen reports have been lodged against him by victims of the scam.
The syndicate’s racket made the front page on the April 23 issue of theSun when a 51-year-old doctor, Charles Fernandez, related how he had lost his Range Rover Evoque worth about RM200,000 in December last year.
Less than two weeks after the report caught the attention of Commercial Crimes Investigations Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Mazlan Mansor, a team nabbed a suspect last Friday and handed him to Petaling Jaya police.
However, the police failed to obtain a remand order on the suspect and he was released.
But police are not giving up.
“We are after a third suspect whom we believe is pivotal in helping us solve the case and gather more evidence on the syndicate’s leaders,” the spokesman said.
However, an exasperated Fernandez said he was taken aback to learn the suspect had been freed.
The suspect responded to a car-for-sale advertisement placed by Fernandez in an e-commerce website.
After paying Fernandez with a fake banker’s cheque, he took possession of the car and transferred ownership to an accomplice.
While Fernandez is grateful to the CCID for promptly acting on the case, he is disappointed the authorities appear to be powerless to act against the racket.
He said he had also met Selangor Road Transport Department officials and was told he could reverse the ownership transfer of his car to his name again if he can produce a court order.
Meanwhile, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng said he was baffled that the police had yet to take action against the used car dealer who was found in possession of Fernandez’s car.
“It has come to my attention that this is not an isolated case as there have been several others who have fallen victim and have lodged reports against the same used car dealership over and over again.
“If the syndicate has been getting away for years because of loopholes in the law, then the police should find a way to plug them and bring the scammers to book,” he said.
“If this goes on, we might find more people falling victim and perhaps new syndicates will (do the same) since it appears as if police are powerless to act.”
Lim said he would examine the cases again and write to the inspector-general of police to put an end to the syndicate’s activities.