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Beijing Residents Enter Into Sham Marriages Just to Get a License Plate

Congestion, government restrictions and one of the most polluted cities in the world, how’s that for the perfect ingredients for romance? Residents of Beijing have resorted to sham marriages in order to beat the system and get a license plate for a new car.
Beijing residents are trying to scam the state license plate lottery system by entering into sham marriages 7 photos
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Love is not in the air in China, carbon emissions are. In a bid to cut down emissions from the auto industry, the government instated a license plate lottery system in 2011 that aims to reduce new vehicle quota in Beijing and 7 other major cities in the country. The lottery system offers potential car buyers the chance to get a license plate after they have introduced their names in the pool. On average, it takes about 8 years to be granted the right to buy a new car.

In addition to the introduction of the lottery system, the government has also cut down on the number of license plates it grants yearly. Bloomberg says that the new vehicle quota was of 240,000 in 2013, falling down to just 100,000 in 2018. The state has announced plans to stick to the 100K figure in 2019.

With only one license plate granted for every 2,600 applications, residents are growing desperate. Not even applying for an electric vehicle is easier, though common sense would dictate otherwise. So, they’re turning to one of the oldest tricks in the book to beat the system: faking a marriage, South China Morning Post reports.

Apparently, various agencies have popped up, offering services like fake marriages to winners of the license lottery. The agency pairs wannabe car owners to those in possession of a license plate, and the former agrees to pay the latter a sum of money for how long they wish to be able to drive in the city. In exchange for the amount, the license plate owner registers the other person’s car in their name.

And we’re talking BIG money.

The agency alone charges over $22,700 just for its services, to which the new car owner must add the actual cost of the car and associated taxes. Then, the agreement with the fake spouse will take another $2,845 out of pocket per year, or up to $9,816 for a 5-year commitment.

“We receive at least three or four clients a day asking to get a license via fake marriages,” a manager at one such agency is quoted as saying.

To ensure that neither party / fake spouse gets scammed (the idea is to scam the government, not each other), they sign an official agreement. However, one judge warns the move is risky even if it might offer the promise of finally being able to drive a personal car.


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