Car racket uncovered

POLICE are investigating a syndicate which has been stealing cars in Taiwan and smuggling them into Hong Kong before legally exporting them to China.

The syndicate was uncovered yesterday when officers from the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau detained two Hong Kong men and seized four Mercedes-Benzes reported missing in Taiwan.

Detectives are hunting another Hong Kong resident believed to be one of the key figures involved in the syndicate.

The Taiwan authorities have been told of the group's activities through the Interpol office in Hong Kong.

Sources said there was a new trend of local smugglers bringing in vehicles - mainly Mercedes-Benzes stolen in Taiwan.

'It is difficult for local authorities such as Customs to detect these vehicles as Taiwan does not circulate the information about the stolen vehicles to us,' one said.

'Police in Hong Kong will have to rely solely on their intelligence collection to stop the activities in the territory.' The syndicate is said to have been operating for about six months.

Detective Superintendent Philip Cheng Po-yan of the bureau's Team A confirmed they had arrested two Hong Kong residents and seized four Mercedes-Benzes.