State trying to seize five high-end cars involved in Canadian street race
High-end sports cars sit in an impound lot in Surrey, British Columbia, on Thursday.
September 9th, 2011
11:44 AM ET

State trying to seize five high-end cars involved in Canadian street race

Would losing your Maserati for speeding be akin to paying a million-dollar fine for jaywalking?

That may be a question five drivers in British Columbia will soon ask themselves.

The five are among 13 owners of high-end sports cars who had their vehicles impounded last week after what Royal Canadian Mounted Police allege was a street race on a provincial highway in suburban Vancouver that reached speeds of 120 mph (200 kph). Police put the total value of the vehicles at $2 million.

Police fined each of the drivers, 12 men and one woman all under age 21, $196, but lacked evidence to pursue more severe sanctions, they said. They looked for other avenues to get their message across that street racing would not be tolerated.

“After speaking to witnesses and gathering information, police determined there was not enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges,” Superintendent Norm Gaumont, head of Traffic Services for the RCMP in the Lower Mainland, said in a press release. “With the criminal avenue closed to us, we decided to see if there was enough evidence to proceed civilly.”

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2011/09/09/dnt-canada-street-racing.ctv-network"%5D

So while some of the vehicles were returned to their owners Thursday, five others won't be back on the street any time soon.

"We are going to pursue forfeiture of five of the vehicles," British Columbia Solicitor General Shirley Bond said.

Police said the forfeiture action was warranted because it was clear the vehicles were used in a manner that posed a danger to the public.

“Based on the fact that they had been involved in street racing, that there was the potential for catastrophic injury or death, that their driving showed a complete disregard for the other motorists on the road,” police Cpl. Holly Marks told CNN affiliate CBC-TV.

Bond said only five cases are being pursued because official believe they have enough evidence to gain forfeiture in only those five cases, according to CNN affiliate CTV.

"In British Columbia, we expect people to behave responsibly on our highways," said Bond, whose office oversees the BC Civil Forfeiture Office, which brings forfeiture cases before the province's Supreme Court.

But Micheal Vonn, policy director for the BC Civil Liberties Association, says forfeiture of the pricey vehicles isn't warranted when there are no criminal charges involved, according to CTV.

"This is just an end run around the criminal process," she's quoted as saying. "There's a reason why we don't charge people $1 million for jaywalking. We expect a court to make a fair assessment of what is due in terms of violation or offence."

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Filed under: Automobiles • Canada • Crime
soundoff (570 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    the "state" is going to have a hard time doing anything as BS is a province...just saying...

    September 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadianmom

      By the way CNN, British Columbia is a province!!!! Shame on you! Get your Canadian geography correct!

      September 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Recollections of provincial geography?

    Really? "What's the geography like there. Provincial or statutory?" Well, if you look at the governmental topography, it's south of a line drawn on a map, but west of where the line was before it wasn't there. I think. he he

    September 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tom

    those asians and their race cars.. silly asians

    September 10, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ravi

    These cops are just tryng to steal their cars lawfully so they can make some more money to fund their system. Its the same here. Cops in America have a certain quota of tickets they MUST hand out to make money for the state( and their epartment) These cops are theives make no mistake about it. If you think I'm lying do some research! They are trying t propagate the system and the system needs to make money other that taxes.. and giving you tickets, fines, seizing property is how they fund their jobs

    September 10, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      Ravi you completely leave out the fact that they were engaged in an unlawful, high risk, extremely dangerous activity. If I start shooting a lawfully owned gun randomly out the window of my house would you be against the police seizing the weapon?

      Your outrage is completely misplaced.

      September 10, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. jesse

    These street racers are one heck of a public danger. My sister in law just got taken out two weeks ago from one of these kinds of idiots. The idiot who hit her was only going 65mph in a 35mph and totalled her car. I can imagine what 120mph would do to any normal car.

    September 10, 2011 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. Stan

    If they can afford the cars take them to a track and be safe and see who is faster what a bunch of morons

    September 10, 2011 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ivan

    Investigate how they got the cash to buy the cars , it will probably be illegal activity then you can confiscate the cars.

    September 10, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      @Ivan: The drivers were all "china trust fund kids" - you know all that money you spend buying anything made in China (which at this point is pretty much, well, anything) - that money goes to China and to the Chinese business owner billionaires who own all the high end homes in Vancouver and send their children there and pretty much buy them anything money can buy. It's spoiled Chinese/Hong Kong kids who have unlimited cash.

      September 10, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. GatorALLin

    Cops only care about the money!!!

    Where are all the other racing cases where they did not keep the cars? You can't take a $200,000 car because you want to sell it at auction and keep the cash....that is called stealing and Cops should know better... You First need a law that says if you get caught doing $120mph then we keep your car 100% of the time, not just random times, or in this case the first time. Its only about the money.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • furreal

      I bet you live in Florida.

      September 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GatorALLin

    ...its sooo dangerous. Except that no crashes took place... These cars are built for 200mph... Yeah they should not be out on the roads with normal cars.... Yeah they should only be on racetracks.. Out of 13 cars they had no accidents... If Cops are made they only had a $196 fine... make a $500 fine... or make a law that says we keep your car if you get caught doing 160mph... 120mph... that is nothing for these cars. (remember they were blocking the road to keep other cars away). You can't keep a $200K car just because you want the money, you need to have the law clearly in place First.... just saying...cops = thieves!!

    September 10, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • furreal

      120mph might be nothing for some of these cars to do, but that is alot of force for an Inexperienced, young driver to control. they deserve alot more then loosing their cars. attempted manslaughter would be applicable meaning real jail time and lose of the car. And the cops are not straight taking their cars, they are going through proper channels, like they should, to keep them honest and to keep you protected.

      September 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vin

    It seems pretty clear that the police involved in the decision making process simply have selected the 5 cars they like the most and are using made up standards and practices in order to deprive a property owner of his property so that the official involved can own a car he didn't earn by theft.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. Oil CEO

    I drive my BMW M6 to Vegas from SLC. I usually cruise around 120 and it feels like 65. Canada is overboard trying to seize these high end vehicles due to speed infraction.

    September 10, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Not that uncommon at all. The seized a Mercedes in Florida years ago when their wire tap picked up the guys planing to land a plan filled with drugs there. They said the car was used in furtherance of crime and grabbed it. It may be more easily understood when you consider some of the money from the sale goes back to the policy. No conviction is necessary. Sad but true.

      September 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Outback

    Well it seems that a lot of folks think that these kids should loose the cars because they were speeding. I am wondering about the FACT that NO police officer saw it or got it recorded, so it is REALLY no proof. Does Canada say you are guilty because someone says they saw you do something or is there a thing called PROOF. So I think I will stay in America. Since at lest here they have to have this thing called EVIDENCE.
    Also we have all done some stupid things in our life. Should we have had to pay a $200,000 to a 2 million dollar fine. Come on this really seems STUPID.

    September 10, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Happens in the US all the time. They do it around the fringe of society so they can keep it going. If they started grabbing people's property for pedestrian kinds of crimes people would be in an uproar so they keep if for those society has little compassion for.

      September 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Outback

    Well it seems that a lot of folks think that these kids should loose the cars because they were speeding. I am wondering about the FACT that NO police officer saw it or got it recorded, so it is REALLY no proof. Does Canada say you are guilty because someone says they saw you do something or is there a thing called PROOF. So I think I will stay in America. Since at lest here they have to have this thing called EVIDENCE.
    Also we have all done some stupid things in our life. Should we have had to pay a $200,000 to a 2 million dollar fine. Come on this really seems STUPID.

    September 10, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Notice, it's a CIVIL court case they are pushing.... the terms/burden of proof for civil cases are MUCH LESS even in America, which I feel it really shouldn't be.

      September 10, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RUFFNUTT

    @cops.. try and steal my car and i will give you a free karate lesson..

    September 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kevininvancouver

    The cops won't be able to seize these cars – they are just spouting off in an attempt to curtail this dangerous behavior. These kids will get in front of judge that understands the law sometime this month and the cars will be returned shortly after.

    September 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
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