A Chinese man recently decided to spend more money on a set of special license plates that he did on the actual car they were installed on, in the hopes that it would bring him goof luck. The idea instantly backfired on him, as he was pulled over by police on the first day sporting the new plates.
After getting his license and buying a car for 30,000 Chinese yuan ($4,500), the man, surnamed Liu, decided to splurge on his license plate, spending a whopping 1 million yuan ($150,000) on a lucky license plate that he hoped would keep him out of trouble on the road. His plan didn’t go exactly as planned – he got pulled over by police on his very first day behind the wheel. And it wasn’t because of his driving, either.
It was the expensive license plate made up of five lucky number 8’s that got the attention of traffic policemen. They were so convinced it was fake that they stopped the car as as soon as they laid eyes on the plates. One of them reportedly even said he would eat them if they turned out to be genuine.
Unless you’re familiar with Chinese culture, this story probably makes absolutely no sense. The number “8” is considered the luckiest in China, because its pronunciation sounds a lot like the Mandarin word for “prosperity” or “wealth”, and in Cantonese it is pronounced like the word “fortune”. So it’s not uncommon for wealthy drivers to pay as much as for a cheap car on license plates containing a few 8’s as a lucky charm.
But a license plate with all 8’s, though not unheard of, is extremely rare, so police were convinced it was fake. And the fact that the plates were attached to a cheap car only made Liu look even more suspicious. They were stunned to find that all his paperwork was in order, and while they didn’t cause him any trouble, getting stopped eight times on your first day of driving wasn’t the lucky experience he had hoped for. Eight times for a license plate made up of all 8’s. Coincidence? I don’t think so!