Proving that even amidst a historic recession and global pandemic some people still have money to burn, wealthy Thais paid up to a half-million baht to buy a “lucky” license plate.
Kanpoj Chongchaisittikul, owner of Chongchai Lighting & Home Co. – Chiang Rai’s largest electrical-equipment distributor – took the top prize at the Aug. 8-9 auction, a Chiang Mai license plate with the number 9999. The price? 500,000 baht.
A total 301 “lucky” numbers were up for bid at Chiang Mai’s Empress Hotel with more than 100 people crowding into a conference room amid promises by the Land Transport Department that strict disease-contorl measures would be enforced. Photos showed that while masks were prevalent, social distancing went out the window as bidders scrambled to throw away their money on vanity plates.
The auction started bang, with a “8899” plate going for 88,000 baht.
Chiang Mai Gov. Khomsan Suwanampa kicked off the proceedings, noting that money from the auction will go to the Road Safety Fund and other campaigns for safe driving and helping victims of road accidents.
Provincial transport chief Waraporn Woraphongsathorn noted that not only are the plates “lucky”, but they feature unique graphics showing off the beauty of Chiang Mai.
License plate auctions in Thailand have a history of drawing silly money, such as in 2014 when a rich Bangkok university student paid a record 25 million baht for the number 1กก 1111 and then affixed it to a lowly Nissan Almera.