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A special 25-member squad that can detect cloned vehicles has been formed, according to the director-general of the Road Transport Department (JPJ), Datuk Seri Ismail Ahmad, Bernama reports.

“The squad can detect whether the vehicles are genuine or cloned just by looking at the body such as the front lamp,” the director-general said. Some 506 cloned vehicles have been seized as of December 31, in collaboration raids with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

According to Ismail, the number of cloned vehicles ranged in the thousands. “There are 2,000 to 3,000 cloned vehicles on the road and we aim to seize them. Focus is on Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu and Perak as many cloned vehicles were seized there,” Ismail said.

He added, “some people are willing to buy cloned Mercedes-Benz or BMW despite being aware of their dubious status due to the low prices of between RM20,000 to RM30,000.” Ismail advised the public not to buy cloned vehicles as it is an offence under the MACC Act and Road Transport Act. “The risk is very high as the cloned vehicles are not registered and not covered by insurance in case of road accidents,” he warned.

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Over in Kelantan, JPJ has seized a total of 96 cloned vehicles from 2014 to January 9, 2016. Makes include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Toyota according to Kelantan JPJ director, Mahasan Mustapa. He stated that cloned vehicles were sold as cheap as RM5,000 for a Honda Jazz and RM25,000 for a Toyota Vellfire.

Those involved in the syndicate have been identified, and their names submitted to the MACC. That said, no arrests of syndicate members have been made in Kelantan, according to Mahasan. He explained that the vehicles were bought from these syndicates through Facebook and Whatsapp. Buyers are mostly in the middle income groups and civil servants.