HPG warns of new carjacker modus operandi

THE PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) on Friday cautioned the public against the new modus operandi of carjacking groups that prey on rent-a-car operators advertising their services at the internet.

The warning was raised by the HPG to freelance rent-a-car service providers of this carjacking method that was uncovered by anti-carnapping operatives in Central Luzon when carjackers made off with two late model utility vans recently.

HPG Director, Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina that said carjackers took-off with two Hyundai Starex vans in separate occasions on February 19 in Bataan and Pampanga using this new modus operandi.

Espina said “colorum” rent-a-car operators who advertise their services on the internet are most vulnerable to this modus operandi because of the convenience of selecting targets and the ease of creating an advantageous scenario to stage a carjacking.

“The online ads on the internet provide carjacking syndicates the opportunity to surf the web for targets,” Espina said.

The two latest additions to the HPG database of stolen motor vehicles are both late model Hyundai Starex vans that were offered for hire by their owners at Sulit.com, although the owners do not have government franchise to operate a rent-a-car business.

Espina said targets of this syndicate are similar late model utility vans that are in demand in the used car market.

The HPG chief then said after the syndicate has selected a target, a member of the group will pose as “client” and make contact with the advertiser usually thru mobile phone and make rental arrangements for the vehicle.

The “client” will then give instructions to be picked-up at a non-existent address.

But even before the driver can reach the address, the “client” will call the driver with new instructions to bring the vehicle to a nearby gasoline station where other members of the syndicate are already pre-positioned.

Should the driver or owner of the car demand for a downpayment, the group will immediately settle the amount to complete the transaction.

Once on board, the suspects will give orders to the driver to proceed to a given destination, and along the way, the driver is forced out of the vehicle while the suspects run off.

Espina reminded freelance “rent-a-car” service providers of specific provisions in 4136 or the Land Transportation and Trafic Code of the Philippines that prohibit illegal operation of public utility vehicles or “colorum” operations. Anthony Vargas

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