But dealer doesn't think new system will sink business The planned introduction of personalised number plates is unlikely to deter motorists shopping for traditional 'lucky' plates, despite a drop in prices since the new scheme was announced last year, a dealer says. Tsui Yat, a supervisor at the Lucky Number Centre, which specialises in buying and selling traditional plates, said prices had dropped 30 per cent since the personalisation scheme was announced last March. His firm and other such dealers sell 'ordinary' plates that bear two letters followed by three or four numbers and cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to half a million for a plate such as 'HK 338'. Personalised plates differ in that they would have eight letters, spaces or numbers - allowing motorists, for the first time, to choose a plate that alternates between numbers and letters or bears only letters. 'The news has already been digested,' Mr Tsui said. 'We don't see this affecting our business much when it comes out. We would treat it [personalised plates] as a new product, but I think people would still prefer the current plates more because they are simpler.' A third type of number plate - bearing only numerals, or letters followed by only one number - was in the news last month when the plate '12' fetched $7.1 million at a Transport Department auction, the highest price since the handover. Such plates are non-transferable, putting them out of reach for resellers such as Mr Tsui. The government has proposed setting a minimum price for the new personalised plates of $20,000, with the final price decided at auction. The sales are expected to raise $70 million a year, which would go directly into the government's coffers - not the Lotteries Fund for charities, as is the case for present auctions. The government is to submit a bill by the end of July to allow the scheme to go ahead. But most financial affairs panel lawmakers who saw the government's proposal in November were opposed to it. Concerns were raised that the minimum price was too low and the scheme would take money away from the Lotteries Fund. If it does go ahead as planned, Mr Tsui said he would start buying plates with common Chinese last names and English first names.