Police Break Up Moto Laundering Racket

Phnom Penh police on Monday arrested 11 men in Dangkao district for using a motorbike repair shop as a front to launder stolen motorcycles by forging new serial numbers and attaching new license plates.

In a raid on the shop on Phnom Penh’s southern outskirts, police seized 14 motorcycles they said had been stolen, as well as 21 license plates and 18 motorcycle ownership cards, said Choeung Ek commune chief Youn Yano.

“We have detained 11 men after cooperating with court prosecutors to crack down on this place on Monday,” he said, adding authorities had monitored the shop for five months.

Sroeung Chanthy, 28, owner of the repair shop, which Mr. Yano said had neither a name nor sign due to the criminal nature of the operation, was arrested with 10 of his staff members on suspicion of receiving stolen goods.

According to Mr. Yano, the shop purchased stolen motorcycles from thieves at reduced prices. They then filed the unique serial numbers off the motorcycles before forging new ones and attaching new and legitimate license plates.

“They changed the code numbers of each motorcycle after they received the motorcycles,” Mr. Yano said. The motorcycles could then be sold on without fear the original owners could identify their motorbike and inform police.

The 10 staff arrested were aged between 22 and 48. All of them, as well as Mr. Chanthy and the seized goods, are being detained at the Phnom Penh municipal minor crimes unit.

Municipal minor crimes police chief Song Ly confirmed the suspects were being held at his office and appealed to people who have had motorbikes stolen recently to contact police to arrange an inspection.

“We announce to members of the public who lost their motorcycles to come to the police to see if they can get it back if they owned one,” Mr. Ly said. “We will send all the suspects to court later after the questioning has been completed.”

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