IN the biggest haul of the year, police yesterday recovered 16 cars worth $6.5 million after a raid at the Chai Wan public cargo working area.
'We are still looking for the suspects, but we do expect to make arrests,' said Chief Inspector Albert Chan Kin-hung from the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau's A Division, which specialises in stolen vehicles.
The operation netted eight Honda Accords, six BMWs and two Accura Legends which were packed into four containers. Most of the vehicles were 1993 or 1994 models and some of the Accords were registered this year.
Chief Inspector Chan said the cars had been stolen between October 18 and 28 from Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and other parts of the territory. 'There was no pattern to the thefts.' He said they were bound for southern China where they would have been resold for about $10 million.
Many of the cars were damaged, having dented roofs, cracked and broken sun-roofs, and scuffed paint-work, caused by stacking one on top of the other.
Chief Inspector Chan said police were achieving greater success by targeting container yards and cargo working areas, hence recovering cars before they were shipped to China.
Car owners were told yesterday there would be little increase in insurance premiums next year.
The Accident Insurance Association said car thefts had been increasing since the third quarter of this year. But it will not recommend its members re-apply the car theft premium surcharge.
The premium rates for comprehensive coverage of cars will not change. But the recommended basic premium for private car third-party liability insurance will rise from $2,500 to $2,800 per car.