Criminal gangs are using WhatsApp groups to snap up Transport Department (TD) inspection queue tokens and re-sell them for huge profits, Yahoo news reported today.
According to Yahoo, gangs are taking advantage of a bottleneck in TD licensing operations for parallel imports, especially motorbikes: at the To Kwa Wan Vehicle Inspection Centre, TD makes available only 30 online reservations for new motorcycle registrations each week.
Gangs organise stand-ins to queue either online or in person at TD, grabbing all available online spots within minutes and selling them to bike owners for as much as HK$3,000 – gangsters are making HK$200,000 a month according to one estimate.
Yahoo reported that gangsters were trading in queue spots “under the nose” of the TD staff, with staff unable to block the operation – and that the problem has persisted for at least six months.
Transport Department replied it had all along been monitoring the schedules for vehicle inspections. A spokeswoman says there were 72 complaints in the last year about the online appointment system and insufficient quotas.
The news parallels Transit Jam‘s investigation into criminal gangs that brazenly occupy road space, lucratively re-selling it for parking, with little interference from police.