Sat, Jul 19, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Marking bikes can help in case of theft: police

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Bicycle owners can mark their bikes, take a photograph or keep owner’s documents so that they can identify or retrieve their bicycles if they are stolen and found by police, a Taipei police official said on Thursday.

“It is actually not difficult to solve stolen bicycle cases,” an official from the Taipei City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division said.

“The real problem for owners is how to identify their bikes from the mass of stolen goods recovered by the police,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

He made the remarks amid an increasing number of reported bicycle theft cases in Taipei as more and more residents are opting for bicycles and public transport to cope with soaring fuel prices.

When their bicycles are stolen, however, many owners do not bother reporting it to the police, the official said.

Moreover, theft rings often dismantle stolen bicycles and sell them in parts, making it difficult for bicycle owners to identify their property, the official said.

If owners can show the police a distinguishing mark on their bicycle, a picture of their bicycle, or owner’s documents, they will be more likely to recieve their bicycle if the police find it, the official said.

The official also warned the public against buying bicycles on the Internet as they might be stolen or part of a con perpetrated by fraud rings.

For instance, the official said, it takes at least three months to receive a popular model after placing an order.

However, one can find more than 1,700 Internet ads for such bicycles, he said.

Meanwhile, a Taipei City Government official said she had three bicycles stolen within just two years when she joined the city government’s campaign to promote cycling four years ago.

“Those three bikes together cost me nearly NT$10,000,” she said, adding that she is now riding a second-hand bicycle that she has used for more than a year.

She said the city government encourages residents to ride a bike and take the city’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, but she complained that there aren’t enough spaces for bike parking outside MRT stations.

She also dismissed the idea of spraying her bike with paint to prevent it from being stolen, saying that “it would make it really ugly.”

The city government plans to add an estimated 1,500 parking stands each year, most of which are set up at local schools or government agencies where demand is high, the city’s Parking Management and Development Office said.

At present, the city has 16,000 bike parking stands, the office said in an interview.

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