Many car owners in Việt Nam believe that owning a nice number plate could bring them good fortune. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Personal registration plates could soon be seen on motorbikes and cars nationwide, as a new law is being drawn up to allow people to buy exclusive numbers.
Number plates that contain “88888” or those that end either “86” or “68” are considered lucky and popular with drivers. Plates that end with “9” are also considered to bring good fortune.
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 or prosperity. The number nine's alternative pronunciation is 'cửu', meaning everlasting and making it another lucky number in Vietnamese belief.
According to the draft law on road traffic order and safety that the Ministry of Public Security and relevant agencies are compiling, vehicle licence plates will be classified into three categories – nice numbers, optional numbers and random numbers.
Desirable plates will be sold off at online auctions and some may even cost more than the vehicles they are on.
Under the draft law, the granting of number plates will be conducted through online auction, for sale with extra fee collection or via automatic system to get numbers in random.
Those who win the online auction will have rights to own the number plates, transfer the plates and will not have the plates revoked except when they violate auction regulations, Lieutenant Colonel Phạm Việt Công, head of the division on Vehicle Registration and Examination under Traffic Police Department of public security ministry told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper.
Công said that the vehicle number plates would be eligible for auction only when they were considered as a kind of asset.
“When people join the auctions and pay for the desired number plates, they should be given rights to use or transfer and should not worry about the plates to be revoked,” he said, adding that without ensuring such rights for auction winners, conflicts and complaints could occur.
To avoid such problems, regulations on vehicle licence plates should be legalised in law, Công said.
Vice chairman of National Assembly’s Committee for Finance and Budget Nguyễn Hữu Quang said that the law on public assets management that took effects since 2018 regulated that vehicle licence plates, together with phone/mobile phone numbers are public assets.
Government is empowered to issue details over the use and management of the numbers.
“I agree with vehicle licence number auction, especially ‘nice lucky’ numbers that people want to own,” he said, adding that the auctions would add money to the State’s budget.
However, under the law on Road Traffic dated in 2008, vehicle licence plates are not allowed to be transferred and authorities could revoke the plates in cases vehicle owners violate regulations.
To facilitate the policy in vehicle licence plates, the law on Road Traffic needs to be amended.
In 2008, Nghệ An Province People’s Committee, for the first time in Việt Nam, organised two auctions for vehicle licence plates and earned VNĐ4 billion (US$173,700). The revenue then was spent on traffic safety activities and supporting the poor and people with disabilities.
Colonel Võ Trọng Hải, director of the province Police said that the auction was halted to wait for official legal permission.
Hải said that if the proposal on vehicle licence plate auctions was approved, the province would pioneer in resuming such auctions.
Deputy Nguyễn Văn Cảnh from the central province of Bình Định said at a National Assembly meeting in 2018 that more than 12 per cent of total vehicle licence plates in Việt Nam could be considered "nice" enough for auctions.
"If the auctions can be carried out, more than VNĐ12 trillion ($521 million) would be added to State's budget yearly," he told Thanh Niên newspaper. — VNS