Fiji Time: 9:18 PM on Wednesday 26 October

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Car parts scam

Shalveen Chand
Friday, May 23, 2014

VEHICLES are being stolen, stripped and their parts sold, says the police, as they accept the existence of "chop shops" which operate for that sole purpose.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said although the frequency of this crime wasn't that high, it could not be denied that it was not happening.

"Police have come across such operations where vehicles are stolen for their parts," he said.

"Police have also arrested people who have been part of this activity. And the public is reminded that if you are breaking the law, we will hold you accountable.

"On the same note, vehicle owners also have the responsibility to keep their vehicles safe."

Last week, a Hyundai van was stolen from Nadera and found in a nearby street with its parts missing.

Owner Rajneel Pratap said it looked as if the thieves knew what to do or had mechanical knowledge. According to Mr Pratap, the missing spare parts were worth about $1500.

Spare part dealer Dai Ichi operations manager Vimal Kumar said such operations could be possible.

"I haven't seen anything, but given the circumstances and how the spare part industry is operating, it could be happening."

"There are two types of dealers, one who are proper dealers who house everything properly and operate to a certain standard and get their parts from Japan," he said.

"Then we have the backyard dealers, who throw everything in their backyard. If one were to get a car and strip it there, that would take minutes, one wouldn't be able to know where the parts came from."

Mr Kumar said they heard of cases where stolen vehicles had never been recovered.

He said sometimes spare parts were worth more than the vehicle.

According to USP economist Dr Nilesh Goundar, the spare industry on its own is a multi-million dollar industry as there is a high local demand.

Insp Sokomuri said police had encountered two such cases in the past and that, like everything else, they were based on demand.

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