KUALA LUMPUR - The hunt is on for the man behind 80 per cent of pick-up truck and MPV thefts in the country.
He is 49-year-old Nyo Ah Hai @ Robin Hai, a central figure in an international syndicate that has been stealing thousands of the vehicles and selling them in Africa, South-East Asia and the Middle East.
Nyo, high on Interpol's wanted list, is believed to be coordinating the syndicate while based overseas, flitting from country to country to avoid detection.
Federal Criminal Intelligence Operations Unit principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Abd Manaf Abd Razak could not give exact figures but said Nyo had been involved in the theft of thousands of vehicles worth millions of ringgit.
It is learnt that Nyo has been operating from as early as 2007 and that Interpol has issued a Red Notice seeking his location and arrest with a view to extraditing him.
SAC Abd Manaf said Nyo might have assumed a new identity and this made it difficult for the authorities to detect him whenever he returned to Malaysia.
He was identified after his name was mentioned by many arrested car thieves.
SAC Abd Manaf said Nyo's modus operandi was to contact local car theft gangs once he received orders from abroad.
"The stolen cars are kept at various warehouses before they are shipped overseas," he told reporters at Bukit Aman.
He said that only certain makes were shipped whole, with Japanese marques the preferred target. Locally-assembled cars and older models were usually cannibalised for spare parts.