Opinion
Fake car plates speak volumes over privilege
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | June 03, 2016 03:30 PM

The public are already aware of officials treating their work cars like their own private limos, but now the latest trend has been imitating state cars to enjoy a privileged drive.

 

The latest trend is
imitating state cars to enjoy a privileged drive

The public are already aware of the misuse of state-owned property such as houses by officials and the same can be said of those using private cars with special number plates.

One of the prime example for this social status upgrading is the case of Vice Chairman of Hau Giang Province Trinh Xuan Thanh. Public attention zeroed in on Thanh's car, a Lexus LX57 which has a blue licence plate which means it's state-owned.

When being questioned on why he could use a VND5bn (USD227,000) car even though it's regulated that state vehicles for provincial vice chairman must cost less than VND920m (USD41,800), Thanh said because of lack of cars in Hau Giang People's Committee, he wanted to give this chance to another official. Buying a new one would be a burden on the provincial budget so a relative in Hanoi had lent him the Lexus. The car then was given a blue plate to make it easier for Thanh to go to work.

Tran Cong Chanh, Party Secretary of Hau Giang, backed Thanh by claiming this was normal. "He is using his own car, not one bought with state budget. Why should there be so much public criticism?" he said.

How can this be normal? Hypothetically speaking, what'll happen if the car meets some unlucky fate? How will ownership be resolved when the car has two legitimate licence plates from Hanoi and Hau Giang? Does it still belong to owner in Hanoi or the Hau Giang Province People's Committee?

Former vice head of the office for investigating and dealing with traffic accidents and law guidance said in normal case, only the driver is responsible when causing an accident. But if the car has blue plate then both the driver and state agency that own the car must take responsibility.

A private car, which already has its own licence plate, cannot have a second blue plate. The police in Hau Giang should be praised for their flexibility after bravely breaking the laws to give the vice chairman's car a blue plate.

This case just add more fuel to the fire that there is huge use of private vehicles with fake government licence plates which often run the red lights or drive erratically.

It is also discovered that there are four expensive Lexus 570s with government plates in Soc Trang Province, one of the poorest provinces in the Mekong Delta.

More importantly, how will the people think when the vice chairman of Hau Giang Province uses such expensive vehicle and what will his peers think about such huge gap? There's obvious criticism that those leaders are used to living in luxury so even their work car must be expensive too.

Clothes does not make a man let alone a VND5bn car is a too expensive suit for a provincial vice chairman in the context that Vietnam is facing budget difficulties.

So it's not "normal" like Tran Cong Chanh, Party Secretary of Hau Giang, suggested, it's actually "a serious mistake, it cannot be considered simple," like former Deputy Director of the National Assembly Office Tran Quoc Thuan said. It's also deceitful to give a car two licence plates.

The authorities must return the original plate to the car and the vice chairman should return the car to the original owner. Hau Giang may not be a rich province but certainly its vice chairman does not have to borrow a car from Hanoi.

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