BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces announced that Lebanese and French police busted a car smuggling ring in a joint operation.
“The office of international theft was able, upon the request of the special judiciary, to bust two containers in Beirut’s port containing eight new model Range Rover and BMW cars that were cut in half and packed after being stolen from France and sent to Lebanon,” the ISF statement said.
The police said that the bust, which occurred last Friday was a result of “follow up and coordination” between Lebanese and French police, via the Lebanese Judicial Police and the Liaison officer of the French Embassy in Beirut.
Two Lebanese individuals, A.B., 47, and J.K., 40, were arrested as the main suspects for the smuggling attempt. Both detainees confessed during the interrogations to coordinating with a gang that steals cars in France, and that they had brought into Lebanon more than 40 stolen cars during the last seven months.
In parallel, the French police arrested seven members of the gang, the ISF statement added.
Selling cars that had been cut in half and rejoined in the Lebanese second-hand automobile market is not a new phenomenon.
A number of car buyers have discovered being scammed after purchasing stolen lemons.
It is also common for importers to order cars that have been cut in half ostensibly for spare parts, but then to rejoin them and sell them to unsuspected consumers.