KUALA LUMPUR: The next time someone wants to tow your illegally-parked car and demands payment, beware as they might just be out to make a quick buck.
Giving this warning today, City police Traffic Enforcement and Investigation Department chief ACP Mohd Nadzri Hussain said police arrested a drug addict for extorting money from car owners in exchange for getting their vehicles released.
Nadzri said acting on a tip-off, police deployed traffic personnel to the scene and nabbed the man who was driving an unlicensed tow truck.
"Checks on the suspect revealed that he is not licensed to operate a tow truck, plus the road tax of the truck had expired in 2012.
"The 35-year-old man tested positive for methamphetamine," said Nadzri.
The victims' vehicles were towed from a road near HKL, but not by the authorities.
On top of that, they were issued "compounds" for RM150 or more.
"When the owners refused to pay, the suspect would not release their vehicle," said Nadzri.
Police are investigating if the suspect was operating under the orders of the hospital, the parking management of the hospital, or member of a syndicate.
Nadzri said the suspect was handed over to Dang Wangi police for further investigations.
The case is being investigated under Section 385 of the Penal Code for extortion, Road Transport Act 1987 and the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
He urged motorists who have fallen victim to such cases to lodge a report at the nearest police station to assist investigations.
Meanwhile, Nadzri also urged motorists not to pay parking touts and instead inform the traffic department at 03-20719999 if they are harassed by touts.
"I advise the public not to bother paying the touts, if they pay it is like encouraging them, so park at the proper car parks," he said.
As of Nov 7, police had arrested 181 touts involved in illegal parking activity in the city and some have been charged in court.
"From Monday up until this morning, 28 people including six Indian nationals and an Indonesian have been arrested. Out of the number, 15 have been charged in court," he said.
The immigrants will be investigated further under the Immigration Act on suspicion of misusing work permits.
Nadzri said he does not rule out the possibility that some hotspots were controlled by underworld gangs but to date, no connections were found that linked them to the activity.
"The arrested foreigners claimed they worked individually but it is impossible for them to work individually plus the money collected is not kept by them. We believe someone would make his rounds to collect the money from these touts," he said.
Nadzri said stretches of roads housing entertainment outlets, such as Jalan Alor, Jalan P. Ramlee and Kg Pandan roundabout, are among the hotspots for the parking touts.
Shopping spots such as Jalan Chow Kit, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Kenanga are also hotspots for the touts.
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