The Royal Thai Police are warning riders to be extra vigilant this coming period when buying a secondhand motorcycle, after a investigation uncovered a worrying development in motorcycle crime.
Officers from the Royal Thai Stolen Vehicle Unit have found that a large number of stolen motorcycles are not being stripped for spares, as was originally assumed, but instead are having their identities swapped and are being sold on through the secondhand network, often in unsuspecting small motorcycle shops.
These motorcycles, which appear to have legitimate identities, are causing real concern to the Thai police as not only are they made from stolen parts, which instantly invalidates the new owner's ownership, but they're also potentially lethal.
During the course of their investigation officers discovered that criminals are stripping stolen motorcycles and replacing the frame (and sometimes only some parts of the frame, and welding it together again) with a legitimate one from a motorcycle that was been bought legally and stripped for spares. This way the criminals double their money, they sell the legal spares then create a seemingly legal motorcycle using the legitimate frame and stolen motorcycle's parts. As you can image, the chances of a thief taking the same time and care building the motorcycle that the manufacturer has is remote, and having seized numerous motorcycles the Royal Thai Police have found several with potentially lethal faults due to poorly executed rebuilds. An Officer from the Royal Thai Police Stolen Vehicle Unit, said: “We want to try and protect innocent buyers from being ripped off and potentially riding a dangerous motorcycle. We've recovered stolen motorcycles from people from all walks of life, including motorcycle shops. In 2011 we will intensify our search for illegal and stolen motorcycles., and likely more unsuspecting purchasers are left without the motorcycle they love or any compensation for their loss.”
So what does all this mean to the buyer? Basically, if you have bought a stolen motorcycle through a private ad you are screwed. Your ownership claim is invalid, the Thai Royal Police will impound the motorcycle, and the only way you can get your money back is by suing the seller. If this is the criminal, tough luck. The good news is that if you bough the motorcycle from a dealer you are legally entitled to all your money back as they sold you an item that was unfit for purpose. Still if you bought the motorcycle without motorcycle registration and greenbook, this can be more difficult, and you might have to go legal to persuade them to get your money back.