Wed, Aug 30, 2006 - Page 3 News List

MOTC to require new vehicles to be branded next year

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said yesterday it had approved an amendment requiring motor vehicles to be branded with the engine code before a license plate can be issued.

The measure aims to incorporate the efforts of the ministry and the National Police Administration (NPA) to jointly decrease theft of motorcycles and cars.

The amendment will be applicable to imported and locally produced motorcycles, sedans and small trucks. Vehicle dealers will have to present valid documents proving that the vehicles have been branded and have been certified by the administrative authority.

The NPA said yesterday that the new policy will take effect on Jan. 1 next year for motorcycles, and that other types of vehicles will have to follow suit six months later.

Vehicle branding involves adding important identification numbers to the body and some parts of a vehicle, such as the engine number or the serial number of parts. The measure has proven effective in reducing car theft because it makes it difficult for stolen auto parts to be sold. It also helps police to trace the perpetrators and return the parts to their original owners.

Yin Cheng-pong (尹承蓬), deputy director-general of the ministry's department of highways and railways, said that the NPA would be in charge of approving branding techniques.

The ministry is amending the regulations to comply with the NPA's policy to lower the crime rate, he said.

Yin added that only vehicles applying for new license plates after the effective date needed to present the branding documents. Cars that are already in use or that need a license plate renewal will not be affected by the new rule.

Yin said the government would not reimburse car dealers for costs incurred because of the new policy.

While motorcycles can be branded, other techniques will have to be used for placing engine codes on other parts of cars.

The NPA currently offers a free branding service nationwide for motorcycles. Parts that can be branded include the headlights, gas tank lids, trunks and batteries. The administration does not offer a similar service for car or truck owners.

NPA representative Ho Kuo-rong (何國榮) said yesterday that some techniques were already available in the market that could be used to add engine numbers to other parts in cars, such as radio frequency identification tags.

Any technique would have to be certified as being difficult to forge or obliterate, Ho said.

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