THE DEPARTMENT of Special Investigation (DSI) today (Sept. 19) announced the seizure of 26 out of 35 luxury vehicles stolen in the UK and sold as new vehicles in Thailand after being contacted by the British authorities to track them down, Naewna newspaper said.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin together with Mr. Traiyarit Temhiwong, DSI’s chief, and Pol. Lt. Col. Payao Thongsen, DSI’s deputy chief, said at a press conference that operation “Titanium” succeeded in seizing 26 luxury vehicles stolen in the UK then sent to Thailand with fake documents stating they were new after which they were sold at showrooms here.
In 2017 the British embassy had exercised a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) in asking DSI to investigate the theft of 35 expensive cars valued at 100 million baht but with this tripling when sold in Thailand to reach 300 million baht.
DSI said investigation revealed that all the vehicles were stolen in England from July 2016 to March 2017. They were then flown to Singapore from where they were shipped to Thailand. Fake documents were attached to hoodwink customs officials that they were new vehicles.
Subsequently DSI tracked the vehicles to several showrooms that had sold them to unsuspecting buyers.
Regarding the nine remaining cars, DSI informed eight buyers last month that they had purchased a stolen vehicle and to return them. However they refused to do so while the ninth buyer cannot yet be contacted.
Pol. Lt. Col. Phayao said between 2016 to 2017 some Thai car showroom owners had linked up with a gang of foreign car thieves in the UK. Members of one group had either rented or obtained the pricey cars through a hire purchase scheme.
They were then given to another group that affixed forged documents, such as bills of lading and invoices, on them. Afterwards they were then flown to Singapore then shipped to Thailand.
After the press conference Somsak accompanied by Traiyarit test-drove a green Lamborghini priced at 18 million baht. He also checked several other stolen vehicles parked at the DSI compound.
Top: Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin pointing to the Lamborghini logo of one of the 26 stolen luxury cars DSI recovered.
Below and Front Page: Some of the posh cars stolen in the UK and sold in Thailand as brand new vehicles which DSI seized. All Photos: Naewna