By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: If you have a disused vehicle parked in a yard or any other public space for a few months, you risk the vehicle being impounded by the Municipality. Depending on the time your vehicle stays at the municipal garage, the cost to get it back may exceed KD 200. Inspectors regularly roam various areas, and if they notice an abandoned vehicle, they will mark it with a sticker warning the owner to remove it. The owner is given 48 hours to do so and inspectors may seize it if they check the place again and the vehicle is still there.
If an owner cannot find their vehicle, they should check with the Municipality office of the governorate where they stay to find out which of the two municipal garages it was transferred to – Mina Abdullah or Naayem. If the owner cannot find the vehicle at the municipal garage, they should complain at the police station, as it may be stolen. If the owner finds the vehicle at the garage, they will receive a letter of acknowledgment and will have to pay a KD 100 fine, KD 30-40 for the towing service depending on the type of the vehicle and a KD 1 fee for every day the vehicle is at the garage of the Municipality.
Some people don’t bother to get their abandoned vehicles back, and simply leave it at the municipal garage for months or years. The impounded vehicle should stay at the municipal garages for a period of three months, then it will be sold in an auction. According to Adel, a Municipality employee who works at the Naayem garage, most seized vehicles stay there for many months or even years.
The municipal garages have also been targeted my thieves many times. “Sometimes we catch the thieves and call the police to arrest them, but some manage to escape. The number of security guards is small as there are only four working in each shift. Also, they are not armed, as they are employees of a security company,” Adel told Kuwait Times.
The situation has improved recently and the number of robberies has dropped after a thief was arrested lately. “I was slightly injured by the thief, who rammed the gate of the garage to get in. He was driving a vehicle stolen from the other garage of the Municipality. According to a police officer, the suspect has a record of robberies and is a drug addict,” he explained.
“Many security guards have been injured by thieves, and this is the reason why they usually quit after a short period, as this work is dangerous. The location of the garage is a problem, as it’s far from the city. So in case of emergency, it takes a while for police patrols to reach us, and by that time many thieves have escaped,” added Adel.
The catalytic system of the car is the most attractive part the thieves look for. “The catalytic system has expensive materials like platinum. Most of the thieves claim they export it to Iran as the price of this element is much higher there than in Kuwait. Some thieves steal the entire vehicle, especially if it is working,” he pointed out.
Other types of vehicles are also impounded and transferred to this garage. “The Municipality sometimes impounds mobile baqalas. This happens if the baqala is not licensed or parked at the wrong location. Also, if the mobile baqala is price gouging and inspectors from the ministry of commerce penalize it, they transfer the case to the Municipality and the baqala is impounded,” noted Adel.