Car export dealers urge more action on thefts
By YUEN CHAN
REPRESENTATIVES of motor companies dealing in the export of left-hand drive vehicles to China yesterday called for greater police action in preventing thefts from their garages.
Mr Leung Woon-cheung of the Left-Hand Drive Vehicles' Association said: ''Although we follow the measures suggested by police, there is a limit to what we can do.'' Mr Leung urged for an increase in police patrolling areas such as the New Territories, where car parks for left-hand drive vehicles are mostly located.
''It is clear that the thieves are very highly organised and we would like to see more roadblocks and checks in the New Territories as well as the setting up of a special police unit to combat them,'' he added.
Precautionary measures prevented seven robbers from stealing new left-hand drive vehicles from a car park in Ta Kwu Ling on Tuesday.
The gang left after three hours unsuccessfully trying to start at least 12 cars, including Toyota Crowns and Nissan Cedrics.
According to police, they failed because the owner had emptied the fuel tanks and blocked exits with vehicles which had their tyres removed. In addition no car keys were kept on the premises.
The demand for left-hand drive vehicles in China has increased because of booming economic developments in the Special Economic Zones in the south. Beijing's recently-enacted legislation to ban registration of right-hand drive vehicles in a bid to stop the flow of stolen vehicles out of Hongkong has also boosted demand for left-hand drive cars.
Last year saw a peak in left-hand drive vehicles exported to China via Hongkong, with 20,000 sent in December alone. There is no specific figure as to the total volume of sales last year, but Mr Leung said he was confident the multi-billion dollar industry would continue to expand. Most left-hand drive vehicles come from Japan.
There are about 20,000 left-hand drive vehicles with a value of $3 billion in Hongkong pending export to the mainland.