Malaysian car-jacking syndicates have been using Thailand as a transit point, as part of a dubious strategy to smuggle stolen vehicles into regional countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, Bernama reports.

According to Bukit Aman CID director, Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) had retrieved more than 100 stolen Malaysian vehicles in the Land of Smiles since 2015, and have since handed them over to its Malaysian counterpart.

“Thailand has become a transit country for Malaysia’s car-jacking syndicates,” he told the press when receiving 20 stolen Malaysian cars – most of which are luxury vehicles – from RTP adviser, Gen Witaya Prayongpan in an official ceremony yesterday.

After the ceremony, the RTP said in an official statement, that stolen vehicles had been a longstanding issue and had negatively impacted the economies of Thailand and Malaysia.

Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and his deputy, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan had always stressed on the importance of tackling the issue as it could potentially lead to other nefarious criminal activities.

“This is not merely about stolen motor vehicles but could potentially finance other activities of criminal nature such as terrorism,” read the statement.

Wan Ahmad Najmuddin, who thanked the RTP for its excellent work in tackling the crime, said both police forces would step up their cooperation to bust car theft syndicates that are currently operating in both countries.

According to Najmuddin, Bukit Aman and RTP had established good relations over the years and have cooperated in all fields, such as the recent arrest of six Malaysians in Bangkok for alleged links to a call scam syndicate.

To that end, the CID chief said efforts were underway to track down the Malaysian leader of the syndicate which was busted in Bangkok last week.