THE Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) headed by Brigadier General Alexander C. Tagum yesterday warned Filipinos anew to first check with them the records of 2nd-hand motor vehicles they are planning to buy this season to avoid being victimized by con artists involved in well-organized technical carnapping.
The PNP-HPG said car theft syndicates nowadays are using very different modus operandi compared to the past in which they merely steal motor vehicles at gunpoint or thru intimidation or those parked unattended before selling them to witting or unwitting buyers using fraudulent registration papers from the Land Transportation Office and fake license plates.
Tagum said that in particular, syndicates involved in the so-called ‘Talon/Pasalo’ modus operandi which had victimized thousands of Filipinos many years ago are now back, the perpetrators apparently getting a big help from erring bank insiders.
Tagum issued the warning yesterday amid a number of similar fraudulent cases they have been investigating.
Since 2010, the PNP-HPG has detected the presence of syndicates known for ‘pawning or selling’ motor vehicles to unsuspecting persons for a price way beyond their normal sale value.
Operations launched by the PNP-HPG in the past had resulted in the recovery of hundreds of SUVs and cars which were acquired thru the same fraudulent scheme.
Tagum warned banks in the country to watch out for the possibility that some of their employees may be involved in allowing the leasing of vehicles to car theft rings.
He said that in most cases, high-end SUVs are being acquired by the syndicate using ‘fictitious names’ which should have been easily detected by credit investigators being fielded by banks.
“Yan po talaga ang nakapagtataka at papaano nakakalusot sa mahigpit na background check ang mga taong involved sa modus operandi na ito na tinatawag na /Talon/Pasalo.’ Obviously, mangyayari lang po lamang yan kung meron silang kasabwat sa loob,” Tagum said.
In the past, victims interviewed by the Journal Group claimed they knew ordinary market vendors and ordinary wage earners who managed to acquire SUVs thru bank loans. It turned out that syndicates merely paid these vendors and ordinary wage earners to apply for car loans from their bank contacts.
Once the vehicle is released, the individual will pay the amortization for some months before the vehicle disappears, taken by the syndicate and sold to other persons with the use of fraudulent LTO registration papers.
Tagum said the stolen vehicles are being passed off as legitimate 2nd-hand motor vehicles complete with fake conduction stickers and plate numbers.
He said that normally, the modus operandi takes place in posh casinos in Metro Manila where a losing casino player will sell his SUV with fraudulent papers to a buyer who may either be in good or bad faith.
Presence of the said modus operandi has prompted security officers of big casinos in the metropolis to regularly check their huge parking areas for the presence of SUVs and other vehicles already gathering dust as they have been left there for weeks or months amid the possibility they were acquired thru the ‘Talon/Pasalo/ scheme’ and that their new possessors are using the free parking privilege in casinos to hide the vehicles.
The PNP-HPG also cautioned the public to be wary of new modes of carnapping being used by organized car theft rings in Metro Manila and other parts of the country to steal motor vehicles and sell them to either witting or unwitting buyers.
Tagum issued the public advisory as the PNP-HPG Special Operations Division-Task Force Limbas headed by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Manuel Ana smashed a group of organized car thieves in Metro Manila involved in different modus operandi this month.
“Please watch out for motor vehicles being sold way beyond their prevailing market value since there will always be the possibility that they come from illegal sources. As a safety precaution, please check with us and the LTO the records of the 2nd-hand motor vehicle you will be buying to avoid losing your hard-earned savings to syndicates,” said Tagum.
Ana said the carnapping trend nowadays is very different from the old days as syndicates have created different modus operandi to steal vehicles and sell them.
They include the ‘Rent-Sangla,’ Pasalo-Benta,’ Labas-Case schemes as well as other fraudulent schemes to get motor vehicle from their consenting registered owners at first.
“However, the public must know that the real intention of the syndicate is to get the SUV, wagon and car and dispose it for profit. They must realize that the car rental agreement or the ‘Assume Balance’ scheme is just a part of the syndicate’s ploy to get the vehicle,” Ana said.
The official said car theft syndicates have also resorted to so-called ‘Budol-Budol’ scheme’ to entice unwitting victims to buy cars coming from illegal sources.
“The public should be warned. The HPG will always do its best to be persistent and efficient in pursuing these syndicates and criminals victimizing our countrymen to ensure the safety of the public,” said Tagum as he ordered the SOD-Task Force Limbas and the 17 other Regional Highway Patrol Units to further intensify their campaign against carjacking, hijacking, highway robberies, wanted car thieves and other criminals in their areas of responsibility.
Tagum reported to PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas the series of accomplishments scored by the HPG SOD-Task Force Limbas in line with their intensified anti-criminality operations.
The operations resulted in the killing of three armed car thieves during a shootout in Caloocan City last December 2, arrest of six other suspects and the recovery of at least seven motor vehicles stolen thru the so-called ‘technical carnapping.’
The recovered vehicles were found covered with fake LTO registration papers and license plates.Publication Source : People's Journal