Hong Kong police in new crackdown on illegal road racers

Patrols and surveillance will be stepped up to catch motorists who oversteer to skid around corners amid crackdown on illegal road racers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 October, 2013, 4:53am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 October, 2013, 12:33pm

Police are set to target motorists who practise a dangerous and illegal driving technique known as "drifting" on Hong Kong roads, amid a wider crackdown against illegal road racers timed to coincide with next month's Macau Grand Prix.

Officers say drifting - which involves drivers sharply braking the rear wheels of their car to create a controlled four-wheel skid when turning sharp corners at pace - has become popular among some young drivers in recent years.

Last month, police received complaints of 40 drift drivers who had gathered at a roundabout in Tsing Yi while the No 8 typhoon signal was in force for Typhoon Usagi. Most of them had dispersed by the time officers arrived. Three arrests were made.

"It's against the law," said Chief Inspector David Bennett of the Traffic New Territories South police district. "Drifting can easily cause accidents. It's dangerous for the drift drivers themselves and it poses a danger to other road users and onlookers."

The Tsing Yi roundabout and an outdoor car park in Wang Chau village in Yuen Long are among other noted spots that attract drift drivers, particularly when it is raining. Bennett said drifting requires a wet road and a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.

"When it rains they are happy, but we are concerned," he said.

Drift drivers are usually young men who gather in the early hours of weekends, often accompanied by women passengers.

Bennett said police would step up patrols and surveillance of drifting hotspots. Drifting grew in popularity after the 2005 film Initial D and 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

And as the professionals prepare to burn some rubber at the Macau Grand Prix next month, Hong Kong police fear local drivers might get caught up in the spirit. Traffic Branch Superintendent Teddy Chau Chung-mun said there were plans to tackle illegal car racing citywide.

Complaints of road racing fell 17 per cent to 173 in the first nine months of the year, down from 203 a year ago, police said. None of the complaints this year were confirmed as illegal car racing.

Some 1,634 people were prosecuted for dangerous or careless driving and speeding in the first nine months of the year, compared with 1,032 people last year.

Popular routes include steep Route Twisk, which links Tsuen Wan and Pat Heung, winding its way over Tai Mo Shan.

Watch: Fast and Furious on the streets of Hong Kong