Chinese grandmother makes a million from number plate scam


Chinese grandmother makes a million from number plate scam

A Chinese pensioner has made around £1million by running a scam that allowed motorists to get around Beijing's strict traffic laws.

For eight years, authorities have limited the number of number plates issued in the capital each year in an attempt to reduce traffic and lessen the chronic smog that chokes the city.

Seeing a money-making opportunity, the OAP – known locally as Auntie Wang – bought 1,000 number plates just before the restrictions were introduced in 2005.

She then began to lease them to drivers, a practice which has reportedly earned her a six-figure income over the eight-year period.

Her scam was only uncovered when one of her customers was involved in a hit-and-run accident. With the number plate being registered in her name, it wasn't long before the police came knocking.

According to China's The People's Daily newspaper, all of the number plates have since been revoked.

"I rented the number plate from Wang Xiuxia... at 10,000 yuan (£1,050) and signed a deal to use it for life," one unnamed driver told local media.

With over 13 million new cars sold in China last year alone, a number of larger cities, including Shanghai, have put in place restrictions on the amount of cars that can be bought, with lotteries and auctions being used to allocate number plates to 20,000 motorists each month.

Inconsistent and rapidly changing vehicle licensing laws have been blamed for cases such as this, where number plates have been rented out for private gain, with the lottery system only being implemented in 2010 after previous initiatives were found not to be working.