Yee kyats: Burma motor registry gets serious

RANGOON, March 30- Burma gave residents until tomorrow to turn in any unregistered cars or face a possible seven-year prison term, state media reported.
The military government started its crackdown on unlicensed cars in November, ordering owners to turn in the vehicles at police stations and promising to ask no questions about how they were acquired.
As of Sunday, authorities nationwide had received 4,781 illegal cars, including 151 handed over by Buddhist monks, the Myanma Ahlin newspaper reported today.
The owner of any car that lacks registration or has a fake registration after tomorrow may face seven years in prison under a 1947 import-export law, and the vehicle will be impounded, the report said.
Anyone who helps dismantle an unregistered car after today would face the same penalty, it said.
Thousands of cars have been smuggled into Burma in recent years, mostly from Thailand and China. They are operated illegally, some with false registration numbers.
The automobiles can be acquired for a fraction of the price of legally imported and registered ones. The government estimates there are more than 10,000 of the vehicles in the country, but independent sources say the number is more than 100,000.
In Burma, an unregistered 1998 model Toyota Land Cruiser costs about 25 million kyats (about US$30,000) while a registered one would cost 135 million kyats.