Think twice before borrowing car from anyone, advises legal eagle

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Voon Lee Shan said when he was in court, a young man was charged with car theft, in which he claimed that the car was borrowed from a friend.

KUCHING (June 18): Think twice before borrowing a car from any individual, advises practising lawyer Voon Lee Shan.

He said it would be wise to never do this, unless one knew the owner of the vehicle really well.

“I was in court, and a young man was charged with car theft, in which he claimed that the car was borrowed from a friend.

“He said he never knew that it was a stolen car.

“You would find it difficult to say that you don’t know this because if this were to be a valid defence, then it would be very easy for culprits to get off the hook,” he said in a statement yesterday.

According to Voon, theft of a motor vehicle or any parts of it, is an offence under Section 379A of the Penal Code.

“The law cares not whether it is a tyre or other component, but once convicted, you could face a jail term of not less than one year. The court does not compromise on this.”

Section 379A of the Penal Code reads: “Whoever commits theft of a motor vehicle, or any component part of a motor vehicle, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Under the Section, the ‘component part’, in relation to a motor vehicle, includes any tyre, accessory or equipment; while ‘motor vehicle’ means a mechanically-propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads, and includes a trailer drawn by a motor vehicle.

“Sometimes, a problem arises if the owner just lodges a police report to say that his car has been stolen when in fact, he’s the one who lends the car to you.

“Crooks can work in many ways. The owner of the car can use this to extort money from you if you want him to drop the case.

“What I am telling here is, please, don’t do this to people – lending your car to someone, then claiming your car has been stolen and extorting money from that person so that the case would be dropped. This can actually land you in big trouble for extortion and also for lodging false police reports,” said Voon.