Anti-smuggling blitz nets 200 luxury vehicles

24 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Anti-smuggling blitz nets 200 luxury vehicles Most of the vehicles impounded in Zimbabwe are believed to have been stolen and smuggled into the country using fake documents before their engines and chassis numbers were tampered with to obtain genuine local registration.

The Herald

Freeman Razemba-Crime Reporter 

So far 200 top-of-the-range vehicles, all probably stolen and smuggled into Zimbabwe, have been impounded under a joint operation between the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Interpol targeting vehicles stolen in SADC.

The operation, which started last week, is regional and Zimbabwe is playing its part.

Most of the vehicles impounded in Zimbabwe are believed to have been stolen and smuggled into the country using fake documents before their engines and chassis numbers were tampered with to obtain genuine local registration.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said the cars did not have the required documents for legally imported vehicles.

Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi

“Most of these cars do not have the required documents and we suspect that they could have been smuggled into the country while others are reported to have been stolen. 

“We are also targeting vehicles that do not display number plates and those we suspect could have been used to commit criminal offences,” he said.

Last week police said they were not only targeting posh vehicles, but also stolen and unregistered vehicles and those not cleared properly by customs.

A team of detectives from the CID Vehicle Theft Squad and from other sections countrywide have since been deployed to conduct the blitz.

Law enforcement agents from other countries within the region are also carrying out similar operations to break the back of the thieving and smuggling rings.

In 2014, Interpol and ZRP also conducted an operation code-named “Usalamu” targeting stolen vehicles.

The operation was being conducted in other Interpol member countries and law enforcement agents were targeting Isuzu trucks and Toyota Fortuner SUVs, which were being smuggled into and out of the country.

Police were mounting roadblocks in and around Harare, with officers from Interpol. 

Nearly 7,2 million cars were reported stolen in 127 countries worldwide in 2013.

Many of the vehicles were lost through carjackings, while others were stolen from parking lots.

“Interpol’s stolen motor vehicles database contains more than 7,2 million records submitted by 127 member countries. There has been a large increase in the use of this database in recent years — from 3 million searches in 2007 to more than 100 million searches,” Interpol said recently.

In 2005, 3 296 263 vehicles were stolen, in 2012 there were 7 250 909, 7 097 877 in 2011 and in 2010 there were 7 156 792 reports. In 2004, the figure was 7 288 741.

“Vehicle crime is a highly organised criminal activity affecting all regions of the whole world and with clear links to organised crime and terrorism.”

Interpol is the world’s largest international police organisation, with 190 members. Its role is to enable police around the world to work together and be able to receive, consolidate and distribute information for member forces.

All member countries are connected through a secure communications system known as I-24/7.

This gives police real-time access to criminal databases containing millions of records globally.

Interpol’s unique system of notices is used to alert member countries to fugitives, dangerous criminals, missing persons and weapons threats.

In 2017, a Tanzanian national was arrested at Mount Selinda Border Post in Chipinge for allegedly trying to smuggle into Mozambique a BMW X4, which he reportedly stole at gunpoint in South Africa. 

Rajabu Ibrahim Ramadhani of Tanzania, who resided in Jeppestown, Johannesburg in South Africa, was arrested while attempting to smuggle the stolen vehicle using fake documents at Mount Selinda border post.

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