Two luxury vehicles in the Guangdong town of Huizhou carrying counterfeit police licence plates belong to the dean of an education institute, according to police.
The cars - a Mercedes-Benz S600 and a Hummer - were found parked outside a seafood restaurant where the dean, Jie Mou, of Huizhou Orient Training Institute was having dinner, said a Chinanews.com report on Tuesday.
The Mercedes displayed the licence plate number “WJ01-20133”; the Hummer’s read “WJ01-05123”. Both plates indicated they were of the People's Armed Police force. One of the windshields was also emblazoned with a pass for officials, the report said.
The news comes as restrictions on using military licence plates on luxury cars came into effect on Wednesday, under a call from President Xi Jinping that the military be more disciplined to improve its image.
On Tuesday, the armed police were notified of the suspected fake plates, and when a squad was sent to investigate, Jie had reportedly reacted rudely towards them and had snatched away their camera, said the report, which did not name the vehicle owner.
“What authority do you have to take away my car … I know many leaders, you don’t want to get mixed up in this,” he was quoted as saying to the police.
An official from the People’s Armed Police told Chinanews that the fake licence plates would cause “serious damage to the image of the force and result in negative consequences for the people and community”.
A ban by the Ministry of Defence on military licence plates names 11 vehicle brands or models, including Mercedes-Benz.
Under a new registration system, all military vehicles must be given new car plates, and blacklisted sedans also include those made by BMW, Lincoln, Cadillac, Bentley, Jaguar and Porsche, as well as the Volkswagen Phaeton, according to the ministry website.
Leasing military-owned vehicles, with official plates, to civilians for non-military use is commonplace in China. Vehicles with military plates are allowed to run red lights, drive in emergency lanes and avoid road tolls, among other privileges.