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Is blurring licence plates on tourist buses, vans and taxis legal in Phuket?

It seems that nearly every time you wait at a set of traffic lights in Phuket, there is a tourist minivan or even bus with licence plate so blurred it looks like the damage was done intentionally. Want to know what the legal position on this is? Read on...

By The Phuket News

Sunday 11 February 2018, 11:00AM

At what stage does it seem that the licence plate was intentionally obscured? Photo: Supplied

At what stage does it seem that the licence plate was intentionally obscured? Photo: Supplied


I’m actually seeing more and more of the buses and mini-vans on the roads with the plate details looking like they have been sprayed over. Are licence plates in this condition allowed?

If they are not allowed, which law do they break? What are the penalties for breaking this law? Are penalties harsher for commercial vehicles?

Does the PLTO believe this is an effort by the driver to avoid being photographed by the speed and red light traffic cameras? Can owners of vehicles with those bad condition licence plates get caught by police while driving on the road?

MP, Wichit.


Licence plates on commercial passenger vehicles such as buses, taxis and vans that are unclear are illegal and do incur fines.


Licence plates with faded, unclear letters and numbers or if the licence plate is otherwise defective and does clearly display the identification characters are not allowed to be in use and must be replaced.

According to Section 91 of the Land Transport Act B.E. 1979, those who break this law are required to pay a fine of not more than B2,000.

Drivers who have licence plates in such poor or defective condition can apply at the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) for a new licence plate or a a set of licence plates, costing B105 per plate. It will not take more than one month for them to receive their new licence plate.

It is unlikely that drivers would intentionally do this to avoid being photographed by speed and red-light traffic cameras. It is not worth it for them because they would then get caught of having defective licences plates, which is itself illegal.

Nittaya Intanop, officer, Provincial Land Transport Office (PLTO).



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lowprofile17 | 20 February 2018 - 19:05:06

How about the vehicles with license plates mounted on brackets which point down - giving the same effect as the original post? Then there are the motorbikes with number plates mounted UNDER the rear seat and are totally unreadable to cameras. Oh,and how about the illegal light clusters many vehicles now have, too, including an ever increasing number of public service vehicles (taxi, minibus etc).

DeKaaskopp | 12 February 2018 - 11:11:05

"I can get a new plate in 1 day"Could someone please enlighten us how it is possible to get a new license plate in 1 day.They do not print them in Phuket!

malczx7r | 12 February 2018 - 09:38:42

"It is unlikely that drivers would intentionally do this to avoid being photographed by speed and red-light traffic cameras. It is not worth it for them because they would then get caught of having defective licences plates, which is itself illegal." Really! I followed a van yesterday with no number plate! Will get caught, by whom? Not by the traffic police, they couldn't catch a col...

BenPendejo | 11 February 2018 - 23:14:13

1st: Of course people would do it...there are many many crooked and dishonest people here.  Even though the fine is peanuts, people would still do it because cheating and being dishonest is a way of life here.
2nd: Of course police won't do anything, as we all know, there is "0" law enforcement (unless you're a tourist collecting seashells). Police don't do law enforcement h...

Werni | 11 February 2018 - 21:09:38

The final comment of Nittaya Intanop shows how naïve Thai authorities are. "It is unlikely that drivers would intentionally do this". It takes 30 or more years the license plate blurs. But most blurred license plates you see on vehicles 10 years of age or even less. If you buy a brand new car, your license plate is brand new, as well

Discover Thainess | 11 February 2018 - 18:05:19

Very interesting - the response from PLTO would be quite true if there was any enforcement by police officers, but I would guess the cameras are more prevalent than officers so it’s probably less risky to damage the plate than have it visible. You only have to see all the motorbikes roaring around with plates tucked above the rear wheel and illegal modifications to see how strong enforcement is.

Kurt | 11 February 2018 - 16:00:12

The officer of PLTO talks around the bush!
He avoids the fact that drivers themselves fade-spray their plate 
So, How to caught them?
Well, by RTP traffic police. Do they do that? 
No, the RTP doesn't. Why not? We all know why
Skip the bla bla about the Section 91, Transport Act bla bla

And it takes not more than 1 month for an new plate, sounds idiot. 
I can get a new plate in 1 day.

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