The People's Liberation Army (PLA) today revealed that a total of 4,112 fake military vehicles and 6,373 stolen or bogus military number plates have been confiscated in raids as part of its crackdown on counterfeit military vehicles.
Ninety-five criminal groups and illegal manufacturing workshops involving over 5,000 people have been seized for stealing and counterfeiting military number plates since the campaign started in July, 2006, according to anonymous sources attending a PLA conference on Thursday.
In China, cars with military plates, which differ from ordinary vehicle plates in color and numbers, are legally entitled to privileges, including exemption from road tolls and parking fees.
Police officers are also reluctant to pull over drivers of military vehicles even if the drivers are breaking the law.
The privileges have led to a rash of fake military plates and vehicles.
Earlier reports said annual toll losses in 2006 from the use of fake military plates and vehicles in Chongqing, one of China's four municipal level cities, which has 750 kilometers of expressway, amounted to 40 million yuan (5.63 million U.S. dollars).
According to China's Law on Road Traffic Safety, vehicle drivers using counterfeit plates could face criminal charges, along with a fine of 200 yuan to 2,000 yuan, and their vehicles confiscated by police departments.
The country's criminal law also stipulates that citizens counterfeiting military plates could face prison sentences of up to three years.