TOLL collectors on the Guangzhou to Shenzhen superhighway are stealing tens of thousands of yuan every day, an official at Hopewell Holdings said yesterday. Every day hundreds of Hong Kong truck drivers use the completed sections of the three-lane motorway to get quick and easy access to factories in Guangdong. Hopewell's commercial manager, Holden Lee, estimated five per cent of the toll fees were being pilfered, but said it was impossible to be sure until the toll booths were computerised. Ultimately, the 122-kilometre road will have a computer-controlled autopay system, but until the project is finished toll fees are being collected in cash. For some toll collectors the temptation has proved too great, he said. ''When you consider that in one day a toll collector could gather more than a month's wages, you have some idea of the magnitude of the problem.'' So far, no toll collector had been sacked, he said. ''We have not yet directly disciplined any of the toll collectors. We need to get legally sound information before we take any action.'' But collectors had been given stiff warnings and were put through a strict ''fraud control'' procedure, the aim of which, said Mr Lee, was to ''scare them to death''. Mr Lee said Hopewell Holdings had also had problems explaining to the Chinese emergency services the importance of dealing quickly and efficiently with any accident on the superhighway. The behaviour of mainland drivers had also posed difficulties, he said, because they did not ''follow standard driving etiquette'' while driving at speeds of 120 km/h. But Mr Lee said the concept of ''build, operate, transfer'', where a private firm built a project, operated it for a number of years, then transferred it back to the government, was still a sound one. ''The lesson from this is that each project is specific to the country involved. You cannot expect to simply import equipment and expect it to work. You have to get together with local people to make the thing really work.''