Riders told to lock up bikes as thefts soar

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 September, 2005, 12:00am

Thefts of motorcycles have shot up this year - and the Boxing Day tsunami is partly to blame, say police. They are urging riders to ensure their bikes are securely locked.

In the first six months of the year 252 motorcycles were stolen, a 28 per cent rise over the 197 taken in the same period last year.

Thefts for all of last year were 441, compared with 334 in 2003.

Kowloon West regional crime prevention officer Chief Inspector Sandra Chui Yui-luen said the increase was related to the Indian Ocean tsunami, the relaxation on the cylinder capacity of motorcycles in Taiwan in 2002, and racing competitions in Zhuhai and Macau.

'Tsunami-hit countries require a replenishment of motorcycles,' she said. Bikes were also being stolen for shipment to Taiwan and for racing.

Fifty-seven bikes were stolen in Kowloon West in the first seven months of the year. Only two of the 57 were taken from public car parks, while the rest were parked on the roadside, police said.

Half the stolen motorcycles in Kowloon West were 400cc Hondas.

'Culprits either loaded stolen motorcycles onto trucks or started the engine by prising open the ignition switch and riding the motorcycles away,' Chief Inspector Chui said.

'The whole course of theft would not last more than 15 seconds. So it's more risky to park the motorcycle on the roadside without any security measures.'

Black spots for motorcycle thefts include Nelson Street and Yim Po Fong Street in Mongkok and Fuk Wing Street in Shamshuipo, she added.

Franki Yang Wai, founder and spokesman of the Hong Kong United Front for Motorcyclist Rights, urged riders to lock their bikes, using metal chains, with good-quality padlocks secured to railings, or with wheel clamps.

He also suggested drivers park their motorbikes in places with sufficient lighting rather than in secluded streets, and to cover them.