End of road for parking pirates in old scam

Local | Eunice Lam 26 Jul 2021

Police believe they have smashed two syndicates, one of them occupying public parking spaces in Jordan for 30 years and renting them to motorists for up to HK$2,800 a month.

Eight members were arrested.

Officers said the two syndicates controlled by triads had been providing illegal valet parking services. One was a "family business" that had been passed on for three generations over 30 years.

Police launched the anti-triad operation in Yau Tsim Mong on Saturday, arresting six men and two women aged 19 to 66 for conspiracy to steal. They were from two gangs with triad backgrounds and were believed to have controlled the metered parking spaces in Man Wah Sun Chuen, Jordan, for 10 to 30 years.

"They would park cars in those parking spaces after charging owners a monthly rent ranging from HK$2,700 to HK$2,800," said Chong Tak-him, inspector in the anti-triad action unit of the district.

However, they did not pay the government any parking fees unless spotted by officers.

Police estimated the two syndicates took in more than HK$300,000 a month.

One of the syndicates was founded by a woman more than 30 years ago. The business was passed on to her son and grandchildren, Chong said.

Police also discovered that some real estate agents referred customers to the syndicates. When taking clients flat hunting, the agents would tell the clients about the availability of such parking services.

Officers went undercover as residents to approach the real- estate agents and managed to find out which members of the gangs were involved.

Fifty-eight car keys, HK$42,000 in cash and 30 Octopus cards used for paying parking fees were seized during the operation.

Officers issued 66 fixed penalty tickets for illegal parking and towed away six cars which breached traffic regulations.

All of those arrested were detained for further investigation.

The Transport Department says there are 101 on-street metered parking spaces at Man Wah Sun Chuen. The car park on Man Wui Street charges monthly parking fees ranging from HK$3,200 to HK$4,400.

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