Market value of over 20 million yen! Behind the “miraculous discovery” of the stolen Skyline, witnesses were outraged by “police negligence”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Market value of over 20 million yen! Behind the “miraculous discovery” of the stolen Skyline, witnesses were outraged by “police negligence”.

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Skyline arrives at the Yokohama Yamate Police Station

Many stolen cars are illegally exported to foreign countries

In January of this year, a Skyline R34 GT-R rented by a foreign tourist in his 20s was stolen. He rented the car for two days and one night at Omoshiro Rent-a-Car, which has its headquarters in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, and parked it at a hotel, where he realized on January 31 that it had been stolen. Mr. Takafumi Saito, the president of the rental car company, who had a popular old sports car with a market value of over 20 million yen stolen, immediately reported the theft to the Noda Police Station and spread the news on SNS. However, the car was miraculously found recently after a series of twists and turns, and the author succeeded in filming the moment it was handed over to President Saito at the Yokohama Yamate Police Station from the port of Yokohama. President Saito revealed, “It has been quite some time since the theft.

I am very happy, but at the same time I think that I was really lucky, because I have heard that many victims of theft have not been able to find their vehicles. I cannot only be happy because I know the suffering of other victims of theft. When I looked at the returned vehicles, I found that the interiors, glass, brakes, etc. had been torn off or damaged, and I wondered what right they had to treat other people’s prized possessions in such a manner. I am saddened and frustrated at the same time because the vehicle was returned to us in such a sad state.

On the night of January 31, Mr. K, a car enthusiast living in the suburbs of Noda City, saw the stolen Skyline on a social networking service that President Saito had spread and happened to witness it. He immediately began pursuing the car with his car and chased it for 5 to 6 km, but finally lost sight of it and gave up the chase when the Skyline driven by the thief ignored a red light and broke through an intersection.

Mr. K immediately called 110, but the police response was unbelievable: he confirmed the rendezvous point with the police and waited for the police car to arrive, but despite waiting for nearly an hour at the promised 7-Eleven Noda Mebuki store, the police car did not show up at the scene. When Mr. K later asked the Noda Police Department why they did not show up, he received an unbelievable answer.

I did go to the scene. I went to the parking lot of Yamada Udon. But Mr. K wasn’t there, so I left.

In the first place, when Mr. K decided on a meeting place after calling 110, he clearly stated that he was not going to Yamada Udon, but to a 7-Eleven. If Mr. K was not there when he went to Yamada Udon, why did he not contact Mr. K for confirmation? If the Noda Police Department had responded properly to Ms. K’s sighting, they might have been able to catch the culprit… All parties involved were outraged at the Noda Police Department’s response.

Unconvinced, Mr. K asked the Noda Police Department for the truth, but was told that it would take more than a month to investigate the recording of the 110 call. A month and a half has already passed, but nothing has been received from the Noda Police Department.

In mid-February, two weeks after the theft, the author visited the site and followed the route that he and a witness, Ms. K, had followed. However, the police never contacted us, and there were no more sightings of the car, and the mood among those involved was one of resignation, but on February 20, the situation suddenly changed. President Saito received a call from the Yokohama Yamate Police Station informing him that the stolen Skyline had been found in a container in a bonded area at the Port of Yokohama.

According to the police, “There was something suspicious about the export documents, so we put them through an X-ray machine, and two Skyline cars were found in the container.

President Saito responding to an interview

This is truly a miracle. There are 16 large X-ray machines installed at 13 ports nationwide that can enter and inspect entire containers, but in 2011, only five stolen passenger cars were detected at ports nationwide, and in 2010, only one. In 2010, there was only one. With nearly 6,000 cars stolen each year, many of which are sent overseas, the number of stolen cars caught at the water’s edge each year is far too few. Also, a large number of dismantled parts must have been illegally exported, but only 20 items were caught in 2011.

The reason is obvious. The reason is obvious: X-ray inspections are not conducted on all containers, as inspections have become increasingly simplified. Mr. A, an exporter familiar with the situation, told us the actual situation.

The container terminals are becoming mega terminals, but the inspection stations remain the same. In other words, the size of the container terminals has exceeded the capacity of the customs office. The volume of cargo handled at the container terminals, which would have been inspected by customs if there were any suspicious shippers (exporters) in the past, is now several times larger than before, so in reality, they cannot handle the volume of cargo.

The reason why the GT-R was miraculously found this time is probably because the shipper code issued by JETRO itself did not have a good track record, or the accompanying documents and photos were unnatural, and they decided to put it through X-ray inspection just to be safe.

According to the National Police Agency’s Community Safety Division, the highest number of car thefts in 2011 were reported in Chiba Prefecture, where the thefts took place. The arrest rate was only 25.5%, compared to the national average of 43%, meaning that three out of every four cars stolen were never apprehended, and were either cashed in or smuggled out at the thieves’ discretion. Noda City, where the theft took place, is home to the USS Tokyo, one of the largest auto auction (AA) sites in Japan, and many foreign dealers have set up dismantling yards near AA sites. It is said that there are more than 100 such yards in Noda City. The number of yards in Chiba Prefecture is so concentrated that it accounts for 1/4 of the national total.

Looking at the situation from a broader perspective, the number of car thefts has drastically decreased from its peak of 60,000 per year around 2000 to 5,000 in 2008 to 2009, and the number of car thefts has been decreasing since then. The number of thefts of automobiles was in an improving trend, reaching a low of 5,000 units in the period from ’20 to ’21, the lowest in 20 years. Since then, however, the number has been slowly increasing, reaching 5762 units in ’23, and this trend is expected to continue.

A police officer confronts a man playing the role of a suspicious person during a training exercise conducted on a Tobu Railway train in Noda, Chiba Prefecture. With this tense atmosphere, it would have been possible to arrest the criminal. ……

Overseas, luxury cars such as Lexus and Land Cruiser, as well as old Japanese sports cars such as Skyline, Civic, Silvia, and RX-7 are unusually popular. And these Japanese cars have low burglar-proof performance. Older sports cars can be easily stolen using old-fashioned methods such as door unlocking and key cylinder breaking. The latest models such as Lexus, Land Cruiser, and Alphard can be unlocked and the engine started in just a few minutes without much knowledge by using “CAN invader” or “relay attack” through a special machine. Genuine security systems are completely useless.

The number of thefts is increasing, yet the police arrest rate is low and customs inspections are still lax. Very few cars have effective anti-theft measures, and the world’s most popular car models are strewn about unprotected, stolen, and sold for high prices. Even if you find one at an online auction, it is unlikely that the stolen car will be tracked down due to the policy of the operating company. And even if they are arrested and brought to trial, the crime of auto theft is very light.

For example, a person with six prior convictions who was arrested in 2006 as the leader of a large-scale auto theft case involving 1,500 cars and approximately 2 billion yen and had a prison record is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for stealing several old Japanese sports cars in the spring of 2010. He is currently serving a five-year sentence for a theft of several old Japanese sports cars in the spring of 2010.

Japan is the only country in the world where it is this easy for car thieves, earning it the unwelcome nickname of “stolen car paradise. The Skyline was found by chance this time, but as long as police negligence, such as not showing up at the location where they are supposed to meet the witness, and the monkey business at customs continues, the number of stolen cars in Japan will continue to increase.

The area around the key slot had been broken.
The key slot and window glass were also broken, and black tape was applied as a sort of first aid measure.
Clothing that the perpetrator may have used to wrap around his hand when breaking the glass was also left in the back seat.
Number of stolen vehicles detected by customs nationwide through X-ray inspections, etc.
  • Interview and text by Kumiko Kato Photographed by Hiroto Kato PHOTO Kyodo News (3rd photo)

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