Beijing woman sues mother-in-law over late husband's car number plate

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2013, 2:43pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2013, 3:13pm

A Beijing woman is suing her mother-in-law over the right to own a car number plate which belonged to her late husband, the Beijing Legal Evening News reports.

The woman, surnamed Ren, claimed she was entitled to the number plate after her husband downed in floods which devasted Beijing in July last year.

The floods killed her husband and severely damaged his car, but one item remained intact: his Beijing car number plate. Car number plates in China's capital are highly sought after and valuable.

The mother-in-law is disputing Ren's right to own the number plate. She has appointed her younger son (and Ren’s brother-in-law) surnamed Li, to represent her. Li went to court on her behalf on Tuesday.

Li argued in court that his late brother bought the car during his first marriage before he met Ren. He said both he and his mother helped him pay for the car. Li said this meant his mother was entitled to the number plate.

But Ren rejected this argument. “My mother-in-law is 70 and she is never going to drive. It makes sense for me to have the car number plate.”

A Beijing court said it will announce its decision on the case at a later date. 

The Chinese capital launched a “car lottery” system to help ease the city’s gridlock in 2011. Car buyers applying for number plates are selected by the lottery despite growing demand.