Stolen vehicles heading for our borders

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Article by Kotie Geldenhuys
Photos by Kotie Geldenhuys and courtesy of the SAPS

It is no secret that South Africa has porous borders which organised crime groups exploit, challenging law enforcement agencies and custom officials. These criminals will take stolen and hijacked vehicles across land border crossings such as the Mozambique borderline as well as river border crossings where vehicles are taken through the Limpopo River into Zimbabwe. According to the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC), these stolen vehicles which are exported to foreign countries are either marketed locally in those countries, exchanged for drugs or other illegal goods, or transported even farther (GI-TOC, 2022).

Several organised crime groups engaged in the illicit cross-border trafficking of stolen vehicles typically exhibit a high level of sophistication. These transnational networks often involve various participants from two or more countries, establishing extensive connections both locally and internationally (GI-TOC, 2022). During the IAATI (International Association for Auto Theft Investigators) Training Seminar which was held during November 2023 in Limpopo, it became clear that when stolen and hijacked vehicles are taken across borders, it requires of the smugglers to have knowledge about a variety of aspects.

[This is only an extract of an article that is published in Servamus: March 2024. This article is available for purchase.]

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