The Road Transport Department (JPJ) has nabbed nine jaga kereta individuals in a special operation on Saturday, the New Straits Times reports.

The joint operation with the police, National Anti-Drugs Agency and Immigration Department was carried at eight locations in KL city and one in Shah Alam. The city centre locations included Kampung Baru, Jalan Medan Tuanku, Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1 and Jalan Ampang. The Shah Alam operation took place in Uptown Section 24.

Three of the suspects tested positive for drugs, while another suspect is a foreigner who had no valid documents, said JPJ director of enforcement Datuk V. Valluvan. They were aged between 28 and 53.

“Authorities monitored the suspects’ activities for three days and carried out operations on Friday, from 7pm until 7am yesterday (Saturday). This illegal activity has become a public nuisance. Whenever members of the public park their vehicles by the roadside or near the buildings, these unscrupulous people would come and asking for a parking fee,” said Valluvan, who added that the jaga keretas charged up to RM15.

They will be charged under Section 50 (3) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for extorting money from motorists, the first time in history that the section will be used, the JPJ man revealed.

Valluvan added that JPJ has identified more hotspots and will continue to carry out operations to curb the illegal ‘jaga kereta’ activity. Those with info can tip off the department via its official website.

About time, we say. The jaga keretas don’t own the public parking lots, and none ‘take care’ of your vehicle when parked. Motorists only pay these undesirables (an exorbitant sum for public parking that’s otherwise free outside of business hours) out of fear that their cars will be damaged if they don’t comply. Extortion, as charged, is exactly what they’re doing. Next stop, Changkat Bukit Bintang?