Pawn shops face new rules

| 04/12/2014

(CNS): Considered an easy place for burglars, robbers and thieves to cash in their stolen loot, the government is clamping down on pawn shops, metal recyclers and secondhand dealers. From now on, stores will be required to keep full records of how they acquired pawned or traded goods, the identity of the sellers and inform the police when they suspect goods brought to them are stolen. The businesses will also be subject to inspection. Presenting the new Second Hand Dealers bill in the Legislative Assembly last week, Commerce Minister Wayne Panton explained that the law would regulate the industry, deter unlawful property transactions and facilitate the recovery of stolen property.

Panton said that, given the changes to the local business environment in recent years, there needed to be a wider framework of standards and a law to protect the interests of consumers and help police track and recover loot cashed.

The minister welcomed metal recycling and said it was to be encouraged but the government also recognized that the creation of these types of business brought some risks. The minister of commerce said criminals could take advantage of the opportunity to convert pilfered property into quick cash.

With the LA involved in many debates about addressing crime and while stiffer penalties is part of the fight, another part is mitigating and regulating the ability of criminals to convert stolen goods into money. Panton said that, recognizing the risks, government had worked with stakeholders to determine the best practice for second hand dealers.

Panton said the police have had some cooperation from existing dealers but there was a clear need for minimum standards and a regulatory framework. The law, he explained, would establish certain operations and implementing procedures and the obligation to keep photos, inventories, IDS and records on who, what, where, when and how dealers obtained pawned items, especially for jewellery, precious stones and metals, as well as electronics items.

“We recognized the bill isn’t going to eradicate problem of burglaries but will provide a much needed obligatory regime and regulation that will fight that activity and provide an investigative tool to make it more difficult for criminals to use legitimate business establishments to convert stolen property into cash,” Panton told his colleagues.

He said it was hoped that the new regime would lead to better enforcement and a deterrent. Linked to the Trade and Business Licensing bill, which was debated later on the same day, the minister said the law would provide for specific licensing for the second hand industry and to require owners to have a police clearance certificate and to be defined as fit and proper person before they got a license. This, he said, was an attempt to ensure only “people of good reputation” are running these businesses.

“Hopefully, it will curb the problem of burglars and thieves converting stolen goods to cash and give police the tools to deal with it,” the minister added.

Panton noted that the law clearly stated that it does not apply to garage sales and the like.

Although no one commented on the bill and it passed with the support of the government benches, the opposition CDP voted against it. During the debate on the Trade and Business Licensing bill which followed, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush said there was already too much bureaucracy, which is why he had not supported it.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    1 pawn shop on this island everything is there fault .

    That said the pawn shop wants nothing that is stolen its a pain in the A**

    The pawn shop is not in the buying business they are in the loan business secured with goods.

     the real scrap metal people dont want stolen stuff either 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wish they would shut them completely! That place is something else. Magnet for criminal activity!

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is no good reason to permit pawn shops.  They do not add to the good of the community.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good move.  It will require moving even more loot outside the country.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My experiences with this bunch has been very unprofessional. They know they are accepting stolen goods in my opinion and do so anyway to get their commission earnings.

  6. SKEPTICAL says:

    Why weren't these controls ilemented in the first place when the Pawn Shop business first started in Cayman

  7. Anonymous says:

    Being such a small island this has potential.  The keys will be (1) regular inspection, (2) enforcement, and (3) discipline for offenders.  Unfortunately i see no hope that any of these 3 factors will be dealt with by the government.  Another law with no one to enforce it…zzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Close them down and there will be no need for a law to try and control.  The law is a big laugh.  See how wel it will work!

  8. Anonymous says:

    It should be incumbent upon pawn brokers to check serial numbers against stolen goods databases.  Most fine jewellery comes with a certificate of authenticity and a serial number that owners record for insurance purposes.  Nobody should be dealing in these goods without those certificates or anything that has had serial numbers scrubbed off.  

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is a wise move with a legitimate purpose. Hope it does what it is intended to do. However, Government must be cautious of over-regulating every sector of business. Over-regulation increases the cost of business. If they aren't careful, this Law could open the door for all manner of regulations and requirements which could stifle the second-hand trade.