THE car anti-theft industry in Hong Kong should be regulated, according to people within the motor industry. The territory's adoption of a car security approval system, similar to one recently implemented by British insurance companies, would help regulate prices and spurious claims, they say. James Middleton, the distributor for the Cyclops alarm and immobiliser system, claims some insurance companies are not making informed choices of alarms for their policy holders. ''Some insurance companies are judging the systems on price alone. I know of one company that specifies certain alarms or alarms costing $8,000 or more,'' he said. Many agents believe some alarm suppliers have raised their prices to take advantage of these gullible insurers. Consumers are compelled to buy the systems recommended by the insurers. Refusal leaves the motorist facing loss of insurance cover. Britain's Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre (MIRRC) has come up with the first definitive standards for anti-theft devices and alarms, which gives the insurance industry hard facts on which to base premiums rather than relying on manufacturers' claims. Nine out of 10 products submitted for evaluation failed to reach the MIRRC standards. At present, Hong Kong insurance companies decide for themselves which alarms are suitable and can refuse cover for high-value vehicles not fitted with an approved device. Mr Middleton's Cyclops anti-theft device, a highly successful device overseas and fitted by the Hong Kong Automobile Association and the luxury German BMW marque in Hong Kong, has failed to win approval from some insurance companies in the territory. He said: ''Some insurance companies tend to recommend one system and not another even, if the technology is superior. I would like to know why.'' Accident Insurance Association chairman Nick Helms said it was left to the Crime Prevention Bureau to monitor the anti-theft systems in Hong Kong, and the final decision was left to the individual insurance companies. A spokesman for the Crime Prevention Bureau said it did test systems from time to time, but did not recommend particular brands. Mr Helms said the choice was left to individual companies because the AIA had no expertise in the area. ''We made a decision that we are not technicians,'' he said. ''We don't know about alarms, so we felt it wiser to leave it up to the members to decide what to use for their insured vehicles''. Mr Helms pointed to the professionalism of Hong Kong car thieves as a reason for not restricting the choice of its members. ''The other reason is the high technological skills of triads,'' he said. ''We know they would concentrate on those particular systems and would soon know how to crack them. ''The triads are a hell of a lot more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill car thieves in Britain or the United States.'' John R Yorkwilliams, chairman of Rondish Company Ltd, the maker of the Rottweiler series of anti-theft devices, also urges the introduction of a scale of alarm requirements in the territory. He said: ''We used the Thatcham report (the MIRRC guidelines) as the basis for the specification of the Rottweiler 4 system. ''This system is advanced and expensive, but we are being compared with products that do not meet Thatcham requirements but cost just as much.'' Paul Clayton, general manager of Vecta Far East vehicle anti-theft system suppliers, defended the high cost of the Vecta system, pointing to the company's overheads. He said: ''On the face of it, it seems expensive, but, when you look at the way we do things, I think you will find it is justified.'' The Vecta system costs $9,800 fitted. In Britain, the price is approximately GBP400 (about HK$4,500). , depending on the type of vehicle.