High-end ukay-ukay-A A +A
Friday, June 29, 2012
WHEN it’s too good to be true, caveat emptor. Buyers beware. There has got to be a catch somewhere.
Many of us are used to buying in ukay-ukay (“UK”) thrift shops, selling anything from used signature clothing to signature shoes. And it cost the buyers a fraction of they could pay for the same item on Ebay!
You can flash the not-so-latest but not so old-fashioned outfit on a budget and look chic without burning a gaping hole in your pocket. The Made in India, or Hecho en México or El Salvador second-hand signature stuff are giving the Chinese firsthand clothes a run for its money.
Reconditioned “UK” cellphones of Nokia rejects in Chinese factories or the Chinese knock-offs sporting such brand names as Sumsang, a take-off from the well-known South Korean brand, are also available.
What goes for clothes, shoes and bags, somehow have spilled over to cars. We see imported completely knocked down parts (or CKDs) from Japan, South Korea or even China (why am I not surprised) find its way to our local markets. In fact, you can Google Alibaba.com for sources of these spare parts, which are also sold in our local markets.
But the city “entrepreneurs” also sell hot cars. Not rad, but the automotive equivalent of GSM (Galing Sa Magnanakaw). In this case, carjacked vehicles in Metro Manila and in Mindanao have found their way to Bacolod City and in Negros Occidental.
Last year, PNP Highway Patrol Group recovered 23 carjacked luxury vehicles reportedly from Metro Manila and elsewhere in the country. A so-called Baktin gang is blamed for the illegal enterprise.
Reportedly named after its leader Ryan Cain Yu alias Baktin, the car theft ring may very well be the real-life Filipino version of the “Gone in 60 Seconds” Gang.
The real-life gang could be more sinister and creative than the reel-life version. The Baktin Group not only steals flashy GSM cars and SUVs which included Nissan Skylines, Honda Jazz, Ford Escape, Mitsubishi Stradas, four Mitsubishi Adventure, Honda CRV, Isuzu Crosswind, Toyota pick-up, Toyota Rav4, Toyota Vios, Nissan Navarra, Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Innova, and Mitsubishi Pajero.
Deft con artists, carjackers refurbish these hot SUVs with new looks and fake registration papers to make them look cool before they get shipped in Visayas and Mindanao. Around 3,000 vehicles are carjacked from the National Capital Region who use the hot cars for transport, to commit another crime, or chopped car parts as the CKD criminal version.
Last year, PNP Director General Nicanor Batolome praised the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office headquarters of the 23 stolen motor vehicles recovered by the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) in Bacolod.
“The HPG investigators have uncovered the elaborate modus operandi of the Baktin group that involved actual carjacking in Luzon, shipment and tampering of vehicle identification numbers, processing of spurious vehicle registration documents and eventual resale of these stolen vehicles to unsuspecting buyers in Visayas and Mindanao,” said Bartolome.
But Bartolome might have uttered his alleluias too soon. Recent local news reports warned that Baktin is now back in town, being naughty and nice to suckers who go for GSM SUVs.
The provincial HPG said carjacked vehicles were a target of last year’s Case Operation Plan “Inbox,” a special intelligence project aimed at neutralizing the biggest carjacking network.
When in doubt with ukay-ukay cars, prospective buyers should have the vehicles undergo an HPG clearance procedure. GSM cars can be covered with spurious registration documents as carjacking gangs can produce “legitimate” documents. The HPG assures us that it is capable of conducting macro-etching tests that can determine if a vehicle is stolen.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 29, 2012.