Guangdong set to return stolen cars
GUANGDONG authorities are expected to return more cars stolen from Hong Kong as early as next month.
Superintendent (Crime) of the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau, Danny Cheung Pak-man, said he was liaising with China through Interpol on how many vehicles had been recovered and when they would be returned.
''We are checking details of the Hong Kong cars. We expect the Chinese side to return them either next month or in October,'' he said.
''We have been told the cars were among more than 1,000 stolen vehicles recovered throughout Guangdong province during an anti-corruption and car theft operation in the past three months.
''Several hundred people, some of them highway robbers, had been arrested during the operation which ended on June 30,'' he said, adding that car theft was more serious there than Hong Kong.
Since May 1991 more than 64 stolen cars had been returned by China.
Commissioner of Police, Eddie Hui Ki-on, goes to Beijing this morning to foster closer co-operation with China to fight cross-border crime.
He is expected to inform his mainland counterpart that a good working relationship is one of the reasons for the 51 per cent drop in theft of luxury cars this year.
Between January and July this year, 393 luxury models had been stolen, compared with 802 in the same period of last year.
Since the beginning of this year, the bureau had conducted 13 operations, recovered 56 luxury cars and charged more than 20 people.
Mr Cheung said police were watching closely whether recent floods in Guangdong had pushed up demand for stolen cars to replenish the existing stock.
''We are monitoring to see if this has emerged as a trend to steal cars from Hong Kong and use their parts on the mainland cars disabled by the floods,'' he said.
Car theft had been contained but could surge due to economic prosperity in Guangdong.
''There is always a temptation for a mainlander to order a stolen car from Hong Kong due to high import tariffs,'' Mr Cheung said.
He said the success in bringing down the numbers of stolen cars could be attributed to more secure cars, car parks and police pressure on the theft syndicates.
The 40-strong bureau team was asked to tackle the problem in 1992 when car theft was at its peak.
There were two to three known car theft syndicates comprised of experienced garage technicians and mechanics, Mr Cheung said.
''They are the ones who are capable of stealing a luxury car and dismantling it to see whether the security system can be defeated,'' he said.
Police intelligence reveals car thieves, often road racers themselves, are paid $100,000 for stealing a Mercedes-Benz worth $1 million.