NANCHONG — A young man who modified his black Mazda into an "American police car" for the sake of showing off has been fined RMB1,000, reported the Huaxi Metropolitan Daily.
Residents of the northeastern Sichuan city of Nanchong were puzzled by the appearance of what appeared to be an American police car on city roads in the days following the Spring Festival. They reported the sightings to the Nanchong County police bureau after seeing locals in the car.
On the night of 12 February, the car was tracked down by the police at the Nanjinxing toll station when it tried to speed past an arms inspection checkpoint at 10:52 p.m.
The black Mazda had been modified to look like a typical U.S. police car, sporting a foreign police logo, and displaying the words "POLICE," "America" and "911" on its exterior. A large decal of a pinup girl was on its hood.
The driver of the car stated that he and his passenger were on their way to Jianxing, and their breathalyzer results were negative.
The driver and owner of the vehicle is in his 20s and runs a car modification shop. He said that he was inspired to create his own version of an American police car after seeing a photo of one on the Internet.
The Chinese police, however, were not amused. The Mazda's owner has been fined RMB1,000, and the car has been restored to its original state.
The traffic police said that a private car with such modifications could easily be mistaken to be a new police car model. They would like to remind the public that personalized decals ought to be used with caution and tact. Traffic police chief Zhang Qunlong said any uncivilised language or images on cars would tarnish the city's reputation.
According to the Vehicle Registration Act, advertisements are not allowed to be spray-painted on cars, and spray-painting should not change a car's original colour. If a large surface area of the car is affected by colour change, the authorities ought to be informed, so that the annual car audit can be adjusted.
Should any form of modification interfere with the vehicle's safety, or should any colour change go unreported after a certain time period, a warning or fine will be issued by the traffic police.