Vehicle registration plates of Macau

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In Macau, vehicle registration numbers are issued by the Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais (IACM) - the Macau Civic and Municipal Affairs Department. The Department does not provide the number plates itself, but are made by shops which provide this kind of service to car owners.

Macau number plates for private vehicles, as observed in 2009. Cars can display both or either for the front and rear, while motorcycles have to display the bottom one for the rear.

Overview[edit]

The Macau vehicle number plates follow the common system adopted for all the Portuguese overseas territories in the 1950s, which, in turn, was based in the system introduced in metropolitan Portugal in 1937.

Each vehicle must display two number plates: one at the front and one at the rear of the vehicle. Both the front and the rear plates bear the same format - white prints on black background. For commercial vehicles, yellow prints are used instead of white ones. Plates can be either in a standard rectangle or in a square format according to the space available in different types of vehicle for number plates.

Numbering system[edit]

Vehicles other than motorcycles and mopeds[edit]

Macau bus number plate

Registration numbers are in a format "Mx-dd-dd". The first prefix "M" stands for "Macau" and the "x" is a letter in sequence starting from "A". The "d"s are digits and consist of a number between 1 and 9999 with leading zeroes. Numbers with leading zeros are reserved for government vehicles. For example, M-00-01 is allocated to the vehicle of the Chief Executive of the Macau SAR.

The very first numbers ever allocated have no second prefix. "M-dd-dd" was the format. When the numbers had run out, "MA-dd-dd" followed.

As of December 2012, the current allocated prefix is "MR".

Motorcycles and mopeds[edit]

Macau moped number plate

There are two separate types of registration numbers for motorcycles (with engine capacity more than 50cc) and mopeds (less than 50cc). Motorcycle plates bear the same format as the numbers for cars.

As for mopeds, the format is "CM-ddddd" where CM stands for Ciclomotor" - "moped" in Portuguese and "d" are digits in sequence without leading zeros. The plates are in black prints on white background.

Special number plates[edit]

Mandatory supplement plate to be shown when Macau-registered vehicles enter Guangdong Province, mainland China
  • "EX" (for Experiência - "experience" in Portuguese) plates are for vehicles which do not have vehicle registration numbers for the time being, such as new cars which are pending for formal examination and registration. It is followed by a number in sequence up to 4-digits without leading zeros. Unlike normal plates, "EX" plates have a format of white characters on red background, and are issued by IACM only.
  • "ES" (for Especial - "special" in Portuguese) plates are issued to car dealers who have to move their vehicles on public roads, such as test run of unregistered cars, or moving between showrooms and storage, etc. It is followed by a number in sequence up to 3-digits without leading zeros. Unlike normal plates, "ES" plates are in red print on white background, and are issued by IACM only.
  • "ZA" (for ZhuAo which means "stationed in Macau") plates are reserved for the People's Liberation Army in Macau. "ZA" plates are not issued with the standard fonts seen on civilian plates. The font used is the same as that of Mainland Chinese plates. However, the plates are still in white print on black background.
  • "T" (for Trânsito - "transit" in Portuguese) plates are for vehicles registered outside the Macau SAR and are driven on public roads for a limited period of time. It is normally followed by a 3-digit number in sequence. Unlike normal plates, "T" plates are in black prints on yellow background, and are issued by IACM only.

Auction of registration numbers[edit]

The DSAT will occasionally auction registration numbers which have special combinations considered to be good luck by the Chinese community. For example "8" and "9" are regarded as "wealth" and "long life" since they have similar pronunciations in Cantonese, so numbers with a combination of 8 and 9, such as 8888, 9999, 9988, etc., will normally be reserved for auctions. Numbers with the same four digits are also popular in auctions.

Macau car number plates[edit]

L-plate for learner drivers in Macau

Macau car number plates are based on the Portuguese plates and are one of three types used in China. The first plates were issued in the 1930s with current number issued at 35,000.[1]

The plates consists of white letters on a black background.

  • 1960s plate format was: M-01-12
  • Current (since 1980s) plate format was: MX-01-23

The first character uses "M" as Portugal assigned license format according to the name of their overseas territory (or province). The plate format of Mozambique, another ex-colony of Portugal, also starts with "M".

Buses use the same plates are cars, but buses have been assigned characters that are in yellow instead of white since 2000.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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