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Police unveil elaborate garage insurance scam

AN unlicensed vehicle garage had swindled more than 1 million yuan (US$146,379) in insurance fees by forging documentation on 300 car accidents in a year, police said yesterday.

The owner and three employees of the garage have been detained by Zhabei District police and more than 160 car owners have fallen victims of the scam.

Police said the garage on Gonghexin Road attracted clients by offering discounted fees, a door-to-door delivery service and even free repairs for small jobs.

It was all an elaborate fraud, they said. Repairmen of the garage crashed the clients' cars and took advantage of loopholes in the insurance system to claim compensation.

The garage said it was commissioned to claim compensation or even buy car insurance on behalf of clients by using stolen or swindled licenses and certificates, police said.

After getting the money, they fixed the damaged cars and gave them back to their owners who had no idea of the practice.

A car owner surnamed Chen, who used the garage, said: "You always have to wait a long time for repairs in standard garages and drive your car there."

She was stunned when police showed her pictures of her car heavily damaged in eight traffic accidents in the past six months.

The swindle finally came into light when a studious insurance worker reported the case to Zhabei District police.

A car owner surnamed Liu crashed his car on a night in February and sent the vehicle to the garage for repairs. He did not call his insurance company for compensation as he had been drinking alcohol.

The repairmen then bought insurance for the car on February 25 and crashed it into a post on March 2. The diligent insurance worker found that the car's damage did not match the accident report and then informed police.


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