Shenzhen car restrictions fuel panic

By THE STAR | 7 January 2015

SHENZHEN: The hordes of people waiting outside the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Centre this week aren’t there to see a famous artist or attend the latest job fair.

Rather, residents in the southern metropolis of Shenzhen have flooded the location to obtain certificates proving they bought their cars before 6pm, Dec 29, when Shenzhen suddenly placed a cap on car purchases.

Buyers who purchase cars after that time will have to get their new car plates by lottery or auction, according to city authorities, who announced the purchase limitation 20 minutes before the policy took effect.

The restriction, aimed at easing congestion, took many by surprise and fuelled panic among locals.

A resident surnamed Zhang said that after hearing about the policy, he rushed to an automobile dealer and bought the car he had always hesitated to buy.

He paid an extra 20,000 yuan (RM11,470) for it, as sellers tried to profit from panicked buyers.

“The sudden restriction is too rude,” said one resident. “As a local citizen, I only hope the coming lottery will be just and fair.”

Rumours about a possible car purchase restriction had swirled prior to the official announcement, fuelling a spike in licence registrations in Shenzhen. — Xinhua