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Apart from Shanghai the plates are cheap, but as has been said, if you know the man, you can get better numbers. I once met some guys who were running 94518 and 94510 which in chinese sound a bit like 'only I want to get rich' and 'only I want to win'.

I run my qingdao registered car in Shanghai, been here nearly 2 years and never any problem. I always pay the 'out of town special shanghai road tax' which is about 160RMB per month and display it in the windscreen. I make a point of looking obviously foreign by having no tinting of the window glass and taking sunglasses off at policed intersections.

The car is very loud with the throttles open but not too loud running gently so I ease off when I see the police. And there are no stickers, spolers, wings or stuff on the outside so unless you can tell a Jetta 15 inch wheel from a Chery 14 inch wheel and unless you can tell a 40 mm lowered suspension from a car that might have half a ton of stuff in the trunk then it just looks like any ordinary chery. Always looks a bit tame at the race track though.

In Qingdao I got stopped a few times for misdemeanors, and the only time I had a problem was the time I thought it would be a good idea to speak Chinese and show I had spent the time to get to know China. From experience, acting dumb is much more effective = too complicated, off you go mate.

Interestingly I got stopped 3 or 4 times in Qingdao for driving with my lights on in the daytime. I always had my reasons, usually it was fog, once was because I had just got off the expressway where I had been running about 50% faster than anybody else. Quite a relief to find that he only wanted me to turn the lights off.
 
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