Singaporean authorities are taking what started off as a viral post from an exasperated netizen on a broad daylight license plate change very seriously, and are now investigating the matter.
On May 18, a man uploaded what would turn out to be an image ultimately published in national newspapers in both Singapore and Malaysia, of an individual at a Johor petrol station openly changing his island-state registered license plate on his BMW sports car.
20may2018spotted by members the bmw driver using #SLX27E on its way back to…
Initially shared across car sites and citizen action pages, it eventually came to the attention of unimpressed authorities who launched an investigation, finding that the second set of plates actually belonged to a Hyundai Elantra car owner.
SG Road Vigilante conducted its own inquiry into the matter, accessing Malaysia’s online traffic ticketing and car information portal MyEg, and discovered that the car in question had been busted speeding along a Malaysian highway.
Plot twist: Speed cameras captured an image of the BMW, but with the Hyundai’s license plate within an hour after the switch was spotted. An RM150 (S$49.30) fine for the infraction has been sent to the Hyundai-registered plate.
It should be noted that it is illegal in both Malaysia and Singapore to use a car plate that is not the one your car is registered to.
Today, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority confirmed that the Elantra’s car owner had launched a complaint with them last week.
The BMW driver was busted at a petrol station in Gelang Patah, Johor, near the Singapore border. The Straits Times spoke to an eyewitness, who told them of their shock that the man would be so brazen as to change his plates in plain sight.
“The (BMW) driver was so arrogant and a very bad example for Singaporeans. What if he had got into an accident in Malaysia and someone had been injured or killed?”
Under Malaysia’s Road Transport Act, driving a vehicle with a license plate that is not registered under said car can get you up to RM5,000 (S$1,642) in fines and a maximum one-year jail term. Oh, and a possible car seizure. In Singapore, using an unlawfully switched car plate will result in a maximum fine of S$5,000 and/or a maximum jail term of one year.