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'Magic' plates disappear from Hohhot roads

[ 2009-05-04 10:53]     字号 [] [] []  
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"Magic" license plates that allow unmarked police cars to violate traffic laws have been scrapped by a city in Inner Mongolia. The plates were cancelled after complaints that abuses by officers were putting lives at risk.

The government of the autonomous region's capital Hohhot cancelled all 700 of its "meng-OA" plates in favor of ordinary registration numbers on April 25, said Yan Bing, chief of the public security bureau of Hohhot.

Local citizens had dubbed them "magic license plates" as meng-OA vehicles were often seen jumping red lights and driving through toll stations without paying, with traffic police usually turning a blind eye.

"Some individuals have even got hold of one through their connections and used them to drive irresponsibly, although the plates are strictly prohibited on vehicles not owned by the police force," said Yan.

He said the government's decision to scrap the meng-OA plates was made on March 19 over concerns officers were abusing the privileges they afforded and causing a potential safety hazard.

However, many citizens have questioned the effect of the decision and said officials will simply continue to violate traffic regulations by instead identifying themselves with a special pass attached to the windshield.

"Some police officers just think they are more privileged than other people, that's why they abuse their powers whenever they can," said Altai, a researcher from the Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences.

"The government should do more to eliminate thoughts like that rather than simply cancel license plates."

Experts have applauded the move, claiming it will help clean up the police force's image.

In a recent online survey of 1,668 people by Chinese broadcaster Phoenix CNE on its website, a massive 95 percent were in favor of the cancellation. They also urged the government to rid the city of the "semi-official permits and unspoken rules" that allow "well-connected" individuals to break the law.


1. Why did Hohhot citizens call the meng-OA license plates “magic plates”?

2. How many meng-OA plates were there?

3. What else do people want the government to get rid of, according to an online survey?


1. Because vehicleswith these plates were often seen jumping red lights and driving through toll stations without paying.

2. 700.

3. Semi-official permits and unspoken rules.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

'Magic' plates disappear from Hohhot roads

About the broadcaster:

'Magic' plates disappear from Hohhot roads

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.