Thefts of superbikes in HK linked to new policy in Taiwan

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 February, 2004, 12:00am

A surge in thefts of powerful motorcycles has been linked to Taiwan's decision to lift a ban on large bikes.

More than a dozen superbikes, with engines of more than 750cc, have been stolen since December from streets and car parks in Hong Kong, said Frankie Yang Wai, secretary of the Motorbike Cruisers' Club.

He said that was a lot, considering there were only a few hundred of the bikes in Hong Kong.

Motorcycle club members have linked the recent thefts to the opening of Taiwan's market.

The island dropped its ban on private registration of bikes with engines larger than 150cc after its accession to the World Trade Organisation in 2002.

The stolen bikes range from a Ducati 916, considered to be the Ferrari of motorcycles, to Hondas and BMWs worth anything from $80,000 to $130,000.

One bike, a Harley-Davidson V-Rod, disappeared from the owner's residential car park in Kowloon City on Friday.

In another case, a videotape showed that a BMW motorcycle was stolen within 30 minutes of the owner leaving it in the Wilson car park at the Star Ferry terminal in Central, Mr Yang said.

'Bikes have always been stolen, but not like this,' he said. 'We can't take it any more. We have to do something.'

Members of the Motorbike Cruisers' Club, the BMW Motorcyclists' Group and the Safe Riders' Association met yesterday to discuss anti-theft measures. They also want to raise the issue with police and car-park companies.

According to police figures, 336 motorcycles were reported missing last year, and 216 in 2002.

A police spokeswoman said she could not comment on whether there was a trend of large motorcycles being targeted because there was not enough data.

A BMW owned by Lam Wah, chairman of the Motorbike Cruisers' Club, was stolen in Tsuen Wan four months ago after he left it on a street near his home.

The 46-year-old construction manager recently bought another second-hand BMW.

Although he fears it also will be stolen, his passion for riding is too strong for him to leave the machine locked away.

He owns three bikes and rides every day, unless the weather is bad.

'It's the feeling of being in the natural environment. It's hard to explain. I've just grown used to the bike.'