China sees rise in cargo theft from moving trucks

Trucks on the highwayThere has been a sharp increase in thefts from moving trucks in China, according to BSI's 2015 annual report on supply chain threats.

This type of theft – which has also been encountered recently in Europe – are known as 'open sunroof thefts' because thieves in these incidents drive cars behind cargo trucks, jump on to the moving vehicles, cut a hole in the top of the soft-sided trailer, and toss cargo back to the car trailing behind.

Moving truck thefts were most prominent in the southern province of Guangdong last year, although BSI also recorded moving incidents in Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Liaoning, and Shandong provinces. Examples occurring last year included the theft of $55,000-worth of pharmaceuticals and $40,000 in leather goods.

A key issue preventing an effective response to cargo theft in China is confusion over which  police force or enforcement agency has jurisdiction, which can complicate incident reporting and allow gangs to operate for longer before capture.

Meanwhile, in India the prevailing trend is towards more sophisticated cargo theft techniques. These include the diversion of shipments to locations where the contents of a truck are removed – generally by cutting panels – whilst leaving customs seals intact. Thieves  increasingly rely on corrupt supply chain employees to facilitate their crimes.

Other trends in cargo theft around the world include reductions in cargo thefts in some western European countries – including the Netherlands and the UK – while in South Africa  robberies seem to be becoming increasingly violent.

Last year,  most of the incidents  in South Africa “were believed to be perpetrated by current or former police or security officers, often involving highly sophisticated tactics to carry out very high-value thefts,” according to BSI.

In Latin America thefts have decreased in some countries - notably Colombia – and markedly increased in others such as Chile where on average three trucks are stolen every day.
Meanwhile, in Argentina there has been a shift from targeting full-size trucks to smaller vehicles such as vans, which may mirror a slump in the Argentine economy, while an incident in Peru reveals the perils of relying too much on technology to thwart the thieves.

Thieves stole a container loaded with $250,000 of electronics from the Port of Callao in Peru after reportedly using a falsified copy of a supposedly unforgeable electronic document that allowed them to pick up the container from the port.

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