Graft purge hits car thefts

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 May, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 May, 1995, 12:00am

ANTI-CORRUPTION measures in China are believed to be behind a fall in luxury car thefts in Hong Kong.

Just 22 luxury cars were reported stolen in the first three weeks of May.

The average number stolen has dropped by more than 30 per cent compared with the beginning of the year.

'Car-smuggling syndicates in China and Hong Kong are keeping a low profile as they have failed to secure help from Chinese officials to arrange legal documents for stolen vehicles,' one source said.

'The reason is very simple. The officials do not want to risk being detected in the ongoing anti-corruption operation.' Syndicates are now understood to be targeting mid-range vehicles because they are less conspicuous on the mainland.

Last year, 685 luxury cars were reported stolen, a drop from 935 the year before.

In January this year, there were 97 reported thefts, 75 in February, 123 in March and 95 last month.

Some stolen vehicles were abandoned in villages in the New Territories' because syndicates could not find buyers in China, sources said.