Local authorities said the entry of vehicles with Chinese number plates, flags and stickers into Mandalay city was allowed by the Border Road Transport Administration.
An official from the No 11 Traffic Police Force said the cars were seen in the city on February 21 and 22 after arriving on a study visit in the run-up to the launch of a Muse-Mandalay bus line for foreign passengers.
The convoy carried 27 Chinese nationals into Mandalay and was reportedly arranged by a local tour agency.
“We only knew about it later. The Border Road Transport Administration was informed about it. But the Mandalay Traffic Police Force did not receive the information beforehand,” said Police Lieutenant Colonel Aung Ko Oo from No 3 Traffic Police Force.
When asked about the purpose of displaying Chinese flags and stickers, the Chanayethazan Township administrator and departmental officials said it was in recognition of the bilateral relations between the two countries.
However, an officer from Mandalay Region Police Force said the stickers were later removed at the request of some local officials who feared they would cause problems.
An officer from the team investigating the event said the authorities were informed about the entry of the convoy into the city, but the convoy failed to follow instructions to remove Chinese number plates, flags and stickers.
Mandalay residents criticised the convoy’s regalia.
“We also go to China via the Muse route. But our cars are not allowed to enter. Their government values their country and people. It is questionable as to whether our government values us,” said democracy activist Thein Aung Myint.
“They entered because of government approval. It is impossible to easily come in and out of another country. Even a Union minister once said they had to fear China. What can a regional government do? Our central government should have maintained our national sovereignty. We feel sorry for this, as the people themselves have no authority. I would say it’s part of the government’s poor management,” he said.
Recently, a different convoy of antique cars on a study tour of four countries entered Myanmar via the border town of Myawady with approval from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. The Road Transport Administration Department issued the convoy a temporary pass after seeking permission from the Union government.
It is still unknown as to whether action will be taken against the Border Road Transport Administration for its failure to ensure that the Chinese convoy removed its national symbols.
Source: ELEVEN MYANMAR