SIBU: Police have vowed to track down the mastermind of a local syndicate behind the stealing of motorcycles for sale across the border after they arrested five ring members in 48 hours since New Year Eve.
Its chief ACP Shafie Ismail made this assurance yesterday, saying this would be one of their main crime busting targets for 2011.
He said of the five detainees, aged between 18 and 24, they have also found a 19-year-old prime suspect involved in a passion-crime murder, in which a love rival at Foochow Lane was killed last June.
The police chief said jealousy had driven the boy to kill his rival when he discovered the man hugging his girlfriend.
He said the prime suspect had slipped out of the police’s hands after they arrested the other suspects in the murder.
Shafie confirmed the boy was the first among the five arrested in the New Year’s operation, saying the teenager was lured into the police’s “trap” when a policeman acted as a buyer interested to deal with him over his stolen properties on New Year Eve.
“The policeman called him out to negotiate the prices of the stolen motorcycles at 2.30pm near a shopping centre at Tun Abang Haji Openg Road.”
He said the boy showed up alone, but, without the stolen machines.
“The policemen talked him into following them. The boy ended up in the police station, where he admitted to having tried to sell two of his stolen machines.”
He said police then seized the two motorcycles and confirmed they had been stolen during the month.
“By then, we believe the other ring members had already exposed the other stolen motorcycles across the border at good prices.”
Shafie believed the modus operandi of the ring was to steal the motorcycles here before riding them across the border through Betong.
He said the second ring member was arrested in a road block in front of Sibu Central Police Station on New Year day, and this led to the arrest of the rest.
He said police here had earlier arrested criminals in another ring in Betong involved in both motorcycle and car thefts.
“We found the modus operandi of both groups were similar, as ring members would tail the owner of a vehicle before stealing the vehicles when the course was clear.”
Shafie vowed the police would go all out to crush motorcycle thefts this year as these property crimes had been rampant.
“Motorcycle thefts have escalated since 2009,” he said.
He said they had been successful in bringing down the thefts of other vehicles.
“Now, we are out to crush the motorcycle thefts. We need public cooperation. We need information.”