Car-smuggling syndicate mastermind gets 90 months’ jail
Syndicate mastermind gets 90 months' jail
He was the mastermind behind a transnational car-smuggling syndicate involving 172 cars worth more than $7 million.
Yesterday, Nyo Ah Hai, 51, was convicted and sentenced to 90 months in jail for engaging in a conspiracy to dispose of stolen property, where he voluntarily coordinated their disposal, despite knowing they were stolen property.
Nyo, a Malaysian, was also accused of using a false Malaysian passport bearing the name Lim Chai Kim.
He has been on the Interpol's wanted list since 2007.
Nyo faced a total of 175 charges, with two withdrawn.
The prosecution proceeded with 16 charges, with the rest of the charges being taken into consideration.
This is the first time the head of a car-smuggling ring is being dealt with here.
The value of cars involved is also the highest so far.
Nyo previously operated two stolen car-smuggling syndicates, from April to June 2008 and December 2008 to May 2009. The syndicates were crippled when his men were arrested.
Nyo restarted his stolen car business, running it from September 2013 to last May.
Stolen cars were supplied to him by unknown Malaysian men.
First, a false sales invoice was created for the stolen cars.
Then, a Singapore-based freight-forwarding company obtained cargo clearance permits from Singapore Customs using the invoices.
Inward permits (which allow goods to be imported temporarily) were obtained through online application on Singapore Customs' website.
When a particular car was coming into Singapore, a Malaysian man would drive the car to the middle of the Causeway between Johor Baru and Tuas Checkpoint.
The registration plates on the front and back of the car would be removed.
A tow truck would tow the car into Singapore. At the checkpoint, the driver would furnish the inward permit and invoice.
After being allowed into Singapore, the tow driver would take the car to a warehouse at Jalan Terusan or Penjuru Road.
When a buyer was found, the car would be prepared for export. Containers were booked to ship cars out of Singapore.
Toyota Vellfire, Toyota Hilux and Honda Civic were the models of the stolen cars noted in the proceeded charges.
Some of the cars entered Singapore on the same day they were stolen, some the day after and others within the month.
Police seized seven stolen cars from Penjuru Close during a raid on May 19 last year.
Another 21 stolen cars were recovered at Port Laem Chabang in Bangkok, Thailand.
The prosecution noted that the case involved an organised crime syndicate that stole cars from various parts of Malaysia for resale in Thailand.
Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Jane Lim said the transnational operation displayed a "high degree of sophistication and meticulous planning" where it had "managed to circumvent customs and export controls for so long".
At least 102 cars entered Singapore this way, 95 of which were already exported.
Nyo too, had evaded arrest for over seven years since 2008, she noted.
Using Singapore's port to ship out stolen cars also tarnished the commercial integrity of the car export industry and the country's international reputation, DPP Lim said.