Hong Kong police arrest 4, recover 5 stolen vehicles in crackdown on gang of car thieves
- Ringleader of the car theft syndicate and three gang members detained in Tin Shui Wai, police said
- Five stolen cars found in Tin Shui Wai, Pat Heung and Yuen Long during the operation
Two men and two women – the ringleader of the car theft syndicate and his three gang members – were detained in Tin Shui Wai on Saturday, Chief Inspector Au Yeung Tak of the New Territories North’s anti-triad squad said on Monday.
The five stolen cars were located in Tin Shui Wai, Pat Heung and Yuen Long on the same day during the operation, code-named “Mightyhero”. Weapons, including a retractable baton and three knives, were found in the boot of one of the vehicles.
The chief inspector said the cars, worth about HK$300,000 (US$38,000) in total, were reported stolen in Pat Heung between October 7 and 27.
He said officers identified the syndicate while investigating a rising trend of vehicles being stolen in the New Territories North region this year, with 154 taken in the first nine months of 2022.
“The investigation suggested the syndicate targeted second-hand cars parked in quiet areas and then stored them in a New Territories warehouse,” Au Yeung said.
He said he believed some of the vehicles were intended to be sold to criminal gangs for illegal purposes.
Police detained the four suspects on suspicion of car theft, possession of offensive weapons, and using forged documents. As of midday on Monday, the four suspects, aged between 24 and 38, were still being held for questioning.
Police said the investigation was continuing and they did not rule out further arrests.
In Hong Kong, car theft is punishable by up to 10 years in jail while handling stolen property carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
In that operation, seven airguns, several knives and other weapons were seized along with stolen items including six motorcycles in a warehouse in Pat Heung.
In the first nine months of the year, police handled 1,402 reports of triad-related crimes, up 14.4 per cent from 1,226 cases in the same period last year.