Cars hidden under scrap

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 January, 1998, 12:00am

CUSTOMS officers seized 10 used cars - including four sliced in half to fit into a cross-border lorry - and arrested a Hong Kong man at the Lok Ma Chau border crossing yesterday.

The vehicles, worth $1.1 million, were found in a 15-metre container lorry, Customs officers said.

Documents claimed the lorry was carrying 23,000 kilograms of scrap metal to the mainland, but officers inspecting the hold removed a layer of scrap metal to reveal the vehicles.

Most of the cars had their roofs removed and four had been cut in two, between the back and front seats, to fit into the lorry hold. There were eight Toyotas, one Audi and one Honda.

Authorities said the left and right-hand drive vehicles were bound for the mainland where some would be altered according to road regulations.

'According to our intelligence information they have an alteration kit to change right-hand drive vehicles to left-hand drive,' said Control Points head Ronny Tsang Hing-kam.

The cars sawn in half would have been either soldered back together or cannibalised to repair other vehicles, officers believed.

'If the cars cannot be fully repaired they are sold for engine and body parts,' Mr Tsang said.

The right-hand drive vehicles are thought to be from Japan.