Tyre dealer fleeced us of millions, suppliers say
A group of tyre wholesalers believe they have been swindled out of more than HK$10 million by a dealer who shut up shop and disappeared at the weekend.
Among the wholesalers are a number of big names, including Michelin, Tong Seng and Dah Chong Hong, according to Eric Wong Ho-chuen, the chairman of the Association of Auto Batteries and Tyres Industry.
Wong led a delegation of wholesalers to make an official complaint to the police in Sha Tin yesterday.
He said the dealer ordered thousands of tyres, worth more than HK$10 million, from a dozen of the association's members in the last two weeks.
'It was strange. The dealer usually ordered goods of about HK$50,000 to HK$100,000 from each of the wholesalers,' Wong said.
'But in the two weeks before closing down, the amount was more than doubled.'
He said many of the wholesalers had dealt with the shop for more than a decade.
'They trusted each other. If it had been a new shop, this would not have happened,' Wong said.
The last transaction with the wholesalers was conducted on June 30, the start of a long weekend.
'The dealer said he would pay in July, which was OK for many wholesalers,' Wong said. 'But they were shocked to find the shop was closed on July 4.'
Wong said the dealer could not be contacted, and the tyres could not be recovered.
'They went to the shop and found the signboard was taken down and the shop was empty,' he said.
Lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, who has been helping the victims, said he believed the dealer knew he could not pay the wholesalers at the time he ordered the tyres.
'It was not normal operation for the dealer to buy so many tyres in a short period. I believe he had not intended to pay from the beginning,' Ho said.