PETALING JAYA: Twenty-six thieves were caught in the act of cutting a disused railway line near the former Subang international airport.
Police believe they have busted a syndicate that had been cannibalising railway tracks for a year, carting off almost 500m of rail line worth about RM300,000 at metal scrap shops.
The detained men include 15 Indian nationals and four Bangladeshis.
The suspects aged 22 to 45 years were so engrossed in cutting the metal tracks that they did not realise policemen were watching them, said Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah.
He believed that with the arrests of the 26 men on Sunday, police had busted the syndicate.
“We are now hunting the syndicate leader and also tracing outlets that had purchased the stolen metal tracks,” he said.
DCP Tun Hisan said a tonne of the metal rail could fetch up to RM1,500 while railway sleepers (flat timber pieces between the tracks) could fetch up to RM50 each.
“Using a blow-torch, the metal tracks were cut into 3m-long beams and then sold to used metal dealers.
“Once the metal tracks were melted down it is almost impossible to trace its origins,” he said.
DCP Tun Hisan said police acted after receiving a tip off that several men had been carting away metal from an abandoned Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) railway station near the airport.
They raided the place at about 5.30pm on Sunday.
He said there were seven tracks at the disused station, adding that the syndicate used tractors and lorries to lift and transport the cut metal beams.
“The syndicate often worked at night to avoid detection,” he said.
He urged the local council to cancel the business licences of scrap metal businesses that knowingly bought stolen metal railway tracks.
Police seized 10 blow-torches, a forklift, a lorry, motorcycles, a Nissan Cefiro, a Naza Kia and a taxi belonging to the suspects.
All the suspects have been remanded until tomorrow. - theStarOnline