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Buyers of cloned cars, you’re on the radar. The Selangor Road Transport Department (JPJ) has seized 65 cloned vehicles in the state since 2015, Bernama reports.

“These vehicles are smuggled (into Malaysia) from Singapore by syndicates, which also operate via the social media, especially Facebook, following requests from buyers here. Cloned vehicles are offered at a much cheaper price, for example RM4,000 to RM5,000 for a Toyota and the price offered is different for every brand and type of vehicle,” said Selangor JPJ director Nazli Md Taib, who added that cloned cars seized until yesterday include BMWs, Volkswagens, Subarus and Toyotas.

Nazli said the vehicles have no valid documents, and that they use vehicle registration numbers already registered in Malaysia. “Some of the registration numbers used by these cloned vehicles are still active and valid on the road. There are also some registration numbers used which are not active or have been disposed of by the owner,” he said.

Cloned-Odyssey-1Steevan Sinniah tracked down a cloned car bearing the same number plate as his Honda Odyssey in KL

The JPJ man said the department will cooperate with police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to identify individuals involved in car cloning syndicates. He urged those who own cloned cars to hand the vehicles over to JPJ because possessing a one is an offence under the Road Transport Act 1987, although we can’t imagine many heeding the call.

The war against the clones is also happening up north in Kangar. In just three weeks from December 30, Perlis JPJ has seized 13 cloned cars. The haul included a Honda Civic, Honda Jazz, Toyota Vios and pricier cars like the BMW 7 Series and Nissan Fairlady Z. All were smuggled in from Singapore except two, which were from Thailand.

“Initial investigations revealed that the syndicate smuggling the vehicles sold them directly to consumers between RM4,000 and RM70,000 each. The smuggling in of these vehicles is believed to be masterminded by the syndicate which previously distributed them in the Klang Valley or in the south,” said Perlis JPJ director Zulhasmi Mohamad.

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He added that the seized vehicles had unaltered chassis numbers, but were on existing Malaysian registration numbers. The cars were using false road tax and had no insurance coverage, Zulhasmi said.

Last week, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said that it is actively pursuing syndicates involved in cloned vehicles. “We opened 34 investigation papers between 2012 and 2015, as we suspected there were elements of corruption in the cloned vehicle syndicates,” said MACC deputy chief commissioner of operations, Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdul, who added that 21 people have since been arrested.

The JPJ is also looking at embedded smartcode radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in road tax stickers to combat cloned vehicles, which cost the government in taxes and burdens the owners of the original cars. The planned Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system will also help the authorities track down foreign registered cars.