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Lack of regulations hinders licence plate auctions

Vehicle licence plates have to be considered public assets eligible for transactions, experts said about the Government’s plan to sell highly sought-after lucky numbers via auctions.


Cars run on Nong Tien Bridge in Tuyen Quang Province. Public auctions for vehicle plates are hindered by the lack of regulations. 



In July 2017, a pilot programme by the public security ministry allowed vehicle owners in Hanoi, HCM City, Da Nang, Hai Phong and Can Tho to buy registration plates via auctions.

The auctions were to be conducted publicly to enhance transparency, curtail bribery and increase State revenue.

Three years have passed yet the programme has not been implemented nationwide due to issues involving ownership of the plates.

There is confusion around whether vehicle owners can keep their plates won at auction after selling their vehicles, as well as if they can trade the plates like as normal assets.

According to regulations, vehicle registration plates are public assets and the Government’s management tools, which means trading vehicle registration plates is forbidden under the Road Traffic Law.

There is no regulation defining which plates are lucky and can be sold via auctions.

According to Le Xuan Duc, deputy head of Traffic Police Department under Ministry of Public Security, plates with 88888 or last two numbers of 68 or 86 are popular.

In Vietnamese, an alternative pronunciation of the number six is 'lục' which sounds like 'lộc', meaning a windfall of money while an alternative for the number eight is 'bát' which sounds like 'phát', meaning progress. The number nine's alternative pronunciation is 'cửu', meaning everlasting and making it another lucky number in Vietnamese belief.

The prices of plates with lucky numbers are extremely high and sometimes cost more than the cars carrying them.

Do Van Sinh, member of the National Assembly’s Economic Committee, said vehicle registration plates should be conisdered public assets which are eligible to be traded, exchanged and inherited.

Economist Nguyen Minh Phong told VTV that Vietnam had not set standards for plate auctions, making it impossible to implement the plan in 2020.

“Auctioning vehicle registration plates can help raise money for social welfare activities and contribute for the State budget if it is conducted properly,” said Nguyen Viet Bac, director of Tan Viet Bac Company.

The State budget is estimated to earn VND5 trillion (US$222.2 million) a year from these transactions. — VNS

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