KUALA LUMPUR - The containers were labelled "machinery" or "water bottles" and Customs officers at the port did not suspect they could be holding anything else. Inside, however, were stolen cars.
The police, investigating a car smuggling syndicate last month were led to a warehouse in Westport, Port Klang, where they found six vehicles that were going to be shipped to Dubai in two containers.
Within the containers were two Toyota Hilux, three Toyota Fortuner and one Honda CRV.
The police had earlier tracked two men and two women from another warehouse in Taman Teknologi Kajang, which was suspected of being used as a storehouse for stolen luxury vehicles.
Bukit Aman intelligence operations unit principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Abd Manaf Abd Razak said officers staking out the warehouse saw the men driving out in two Hilux cars and the women in a Perodua Kancil at about 4.30pm on Feb 18.
"We tailed them to the Sungai Ramal toll plaza and blocked the three cars from passing the toll gate.
"The drivers of the two Hilux cars reversed and rammed into the police vehicles; prompting one of our officers to fire a shot that hit a car tyre.
"We arrested the two Hilux drivers and their girlfriends. The women, however, were later released," SAC Abd Manaf said here yesterday.
He said the police believed they had crippled a syndicate linked to notorious international car thief and Interpol wanted man Nyo Ah Hai @ Robin Hai.
Malaysian police believe Hai, from Nibong Tebal, is co-ordinating the syndicate from an overseas base.
He is thought to be responsible for 80 per cent of pick-up truck and MPV thefts in the country and believed to have fled from the country in 2007.
The car thieves would scrub clean the cars and erase any form of identification before loading the stolen vehicles into rented containers.
SAC Abd Manaf said investigations revealed the shipment would be declared as "machinery" or "water bottles," alleging Customs officers rarely checked them.