Part 2 of the ‘Unraveling Corruption in Vietnam – Catch 22’ series
The new law and regulation on vehicle ownership and registration will be strictly enforced.
Cracking Down on Motorbike Ownership and Registration
In Vietnam, motorbikes are more than just a mode of transportation; they are an integral part of the culture. However, over the years, this has led to lax practices in motorbike registration, opening the door to corruption and illegal activities. In a bid to curb these issues, the Ministry of Transportation recently introduced a new law that is set to be strictly enforced. Starting from 15th August, motorbike owners must have the registration card in their name and the original plate on the caveat, known as the “carte verte à legacy of French colonial administration.” This article delves into the implications of this new regulation, focusing on the challenges it poses, especially for expatriates and motorbike enthusiasts.
The History of Non-Compliance
For many years, the practice of motorbike ownership and registration in Vietnam has been unique. It has been common for motorbikes to stay within families, passing from one generation to the next without the need to change plates or the caveat. Consequently, the Department of Registration has been registering a massive number of new motorbikes annually, approximately 1,000,000 countrywide. This culture of keeping motorbikes within families made any “extra service” for used motorbikes unwelcome, unless a certain “coffee money” was paid. Riding a family member’s or friend’s motorbike was as commonplace as breathing air in Vietnam.
New Regulation to Combat Theft and Scams
While this longstanding practice has had its merits, it has also led to certain downsides. A new trend emerged involving the theft of motorbikes and scams related to “borrowed” motorbikes that did not legally belong to the riders but were pawned for quick cash before disappearing. Furthermore, there were reports of illegal trading of “lucky number plates” within the police transportation registry. These plates, often ending in numbers 8 or 9, could fetch thousands of dollars without any money reaching the state’s coffers.
Ministry of Transportation’s Decree
In response to these challenges, the Ministry of Transportation decided to take immediate action. Their new decree, which came into effect within 30 days of its announcement, mandates that all vehicles should be registered under the name of the owner as per the model and number plate. This regulation aims to combat corruption and illegal practices that have plagued the vehicle registration system. However, its implementation has posed significant difficulties.
Challenges for Expats
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