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WHO is running traffic police stations in major towns? The NEW SUNDAY TIMES went undercover to observe the goings on in several stations in the Klang Valley and Penang and came up with some disturbing conclusions.
COME rain or shine, there are a number of "familiar faces" at major traffic police stations in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Penang every day.
No. These familiar faces are not the boys in blue or, in this case , the white uniforms of the nation's traffic policemen.
These are touts, working with various car repair workshops, seen milling about traffic police stations approaching members of the public to offer their services.
Random checks at the city traffic police headquarters in Jalan Tun H.S.
Lee revealed touts were a fixture there, harassing anyone going in or out of the station.
The touts "disappeared" for three weeks after the New Sunday Times asked the police for comments on the issue last month, but they are now back.
To the unsuspecting, the touts might seem like an extended service crew of the police, except that they are wearing a visitor's tag on a lanyard around their necks.
They usually dress in casual Tees and jeans, but some try to make a better impression on prospective customers by donning shirts and trousers.
There are normally five or six touts clustered opposite the entrance of the station.
They scrutinise oncoming vehicles with an eagle eye, checking to see if there are any dents or scratches. Once a damaged vehicle turns into the parking lot, the touts turn into hyenas and converge on the owner.
One or two will attach themselves to the owner of the car as he or she alights from the vehicle.
The first couple was cornered from the moment they alighted from their stricken vehicle. They were bugged all the way into the station, even when lodging a report, until they got into their car and drove off.
The woman, Jane, said her boyfriend, who declined to be …