Rental cars, the vehicle of choice for drug smugglers? – MalaysiaNow

Car rental operators share their experiences of losing their vehicles only to discover them some time later in suspicious conditions.
Yusree and her friend Jue were taken aback when they received a phone call one day in April, informing them that a rental car belonging to them had been found in the parking lot of a commercial building in Sungai Buloh, Selangor. 
They had been trying to track down the car to no avail since February, when they rented it out to a foreigner for half a day. 
It was only discovered after they took their search to social media.
Upon arriving at the building, though, they found the car in suspicious condition. 
“It was very dirty and covered in dust, and the windows had been tinted black without my knowledge,” Yusree said. 
“We had handed the car over to the renter at the airport with an advance payment of RM100.”
Worried that the vehicle had been used for criminal activities, they agreed to call the police before touching it. 
Relating their experience in an interview with MalaysiaNow, Yusree said monthly rental vehicles had become the target of some for drug smuggling activities, as no personal records are involved and the cost of rental is usually affordable. 
A recent series of arrests by the police in raids against drug syndicates around the Klang Valley had found the same trend of rental vehicles being used as a means of transporting the illegal goods. 
Man Buang, the owner and operator of a car rental business in Kuala Terengganu, said he was facing the same problem as Yusree. 
In November last year, he rented a Toyota Innova to a local man for a day. But after two days, the car had not been returned. 
He tried to call the man but could not reach him. More than four months later, he was contacted by a lawyer who told him that the car was at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters along with a number of other seized items. 
The man who rented it had been arrested by the police for the possession of drugs.
Man Buang was told that his vehicle had been seized during the man’s arrest and kept on suspicion of being used to carry out illegal activities. 
He was also told that he could reclaim the car by filing a claim in court. 
It took him four attempts before he finally regained his car. 
The man, meanwhile, is still in jail, awaiting his next case mention. 
After that experience, Man Buang decided he would only accept customers from among his own family members, locals, and those who could provide a copy of their identity cards before renting his cars. 
He has also increased the deposit payments to discourage anything like that from happening again. 
“I can’t stop renting out cars altogether,” he told MalaysiaNow. “This is how I earn a living. 
“And I still have many loyal customers who look for me whenever they come to Terengganu.” 
Back in Selangor, Yusree and Jue have many colleagues in the car rental business who have found their vehicles abandoned in the parking areas of apartment blocks and condominiums. 
Some had been stripped of their tyres and accessories by the time they were discovered. 
The vehicles are believed to have been abandoned after the renters completed their jobs. 
“It’s easy enough to find them,” Yusree said. “Just put up a Facebook post, and in a few days, someone will contact you with the vehicle’s location.”
For her, this is a matter that all rental car operators should be aware of. 
“Don’t just accept any customer off the street,” she added. 
A facility manager at an apartment in Cyberjaya 1, Selangor, confirmed the situation. 
He said the management keeps a record of all of the cars owned by the residents for the purpose of issuing access cards. 
“The cars that are abandoned in the parking lot are not in the system,” he said, requesting anonymity. 
“But legitimate visitors will come and go in a matter of hours. At most, they will spend the night before leaving.”
Meanwhile, any vehicles left in the parking area for more than three months will have their tyres clamped, with their owners told to pay a fine if they wish to claim them. 
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