stolen and wrecked cars resurface in dubai and this toyota fortuner is just one example

Often times, when a car gets stolen, it is stripped for parts. But other times, these stolen cars are exported out of the country, often times via a transit destination like Dubai in UAE, which is one of the world’s largest marketplace for used cars.

Yes, Dubai has a number of free trade zones (more than 30 of them, actually) and nestled within those free trade zones are a number of unscrupulous used car dealers and workshops.

stolen and wrecked cars resurface in dubai and this toyota fortuner is just one example

Right-hand drive (RHD) Toyotas for sale in Dubai

Despite the UAE being a left-hand drive (LHD) country, a quick browse on some of their classified sites reveal that there is a surprising number of right-hand drive cars for sale.

stolen and wrecked cars resurface in dubai and this toyota fortuner is just one example

Stolen in Australia, found in Dubai. Photo credit: Drive

This particular example involved a Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupe, which was reported stolen back in February 2017, before surfacing in Dubai 5 months later. What gave it away was its original number plate still attached to the car.

But Dubai has more than just stolen cars. There are also many wrecked cars from overseas that end up in Dubai before being re-exported.

stolen and wrecked cars resurface in dubai and this toyota fortuner is just one example
stolen and wrecked cars resurface in dubai and this toyota fortuner is just one example

One such listing is this 2015 Toyota Fortuner. One of the photos reveal that this Fortuner originated from Australia. A quick check on Australia’s online vehicle check revealed that this particular Fortuner was registered in New South Wales but was written off due to a massive accident, affecting the front portion of the vehicle.

stolen and wrecked cars resurface in dubai and this toyota fortuner is just one example
stolen and wrecked cars resurface in dubai and this toyota fortuner is just one example

It’s a similar story for this 2020 Toyota RAV4. While the VIN for this RAV4 was not shown, a single shot did show a Victoria State-format number plate. A quick check later, like the Fortuner, this RAV4 was written off in Victoria State as it was involved in a serious accident, involving bodywork, suspension, and airbags.

Seeing that the Fortuner and RAV4 listed on this classified site look pristine, it is very likely a workshop bought the wrecks and fixed them up. A report from Japan Today pretty much confirms that Dubai is a transit point for these wrecked and stolen cars.

stolen and wrecked cars resurface in dubai and this toyota fortuner is just one example

Stolen cars recovered in Uganda

As such, after being repaired, this Fortuner and RAV4 will likely be re-exported to third-world countries. Uganda is one such example where cars exported from Dubai have been found there.

With all said and done, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for these stolen cars, as UAE recently funded a global police operation aimed at stolen vehicle trafficking.

Called Operation Carback, this operation has identified 1,121 stolen cars in just over 2 weeks. Ilana de Wild, Interpol’s director of organized and emerging Crime said, “With vehicles usually smuggled beyond borders and ending up thousands of miles away from where they were stolen, an international operation like Carback is crucial to enabling police to tackle the networks behind global car trafficking.”

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