Police busted a meet-up of car modders at an underground parking lot in Galaxy SOHO mall, Beijing’s largest shopping mall in the city center, earlier this month.
Twenty-seven vehicles were found to have been illegally modified and another carried with a fake license plate. The owners were fined and ordered to restore their vehicles to factory status.
According to photos released by the police, the modified vehicles included premium sports cars such as the Nissan GT-R35, Lancer EVO, Porsche 911, Honda Jed and Ferrari, as well as a handful of low-end hatchbacks.
iAcrophobia, a car modding group, is believed to have been the party organizer. Shi Haitao, a member of the group, told the Beijing News that the group is a non-profit community focused on car culture. The party was one of a number of weekly meet-ups where car fans would drive in their vehicles to chat with fellow enthusiasts.
“Car modification does not equal car racing. We often mistakenly take the blame for car racers,” Shi said, adding that the group encourages its members to boycott car racing.
Police wrote on their official Weibo account that while car modification does not equal car racing, unlicensed car modification is illegal.
The Legal Evening News said all car modifications must be in accordance with national traffic laws and must be registered with the local traffic administration after modification. Illegally modified cars face a fine of 200 yuan and will be failed on annual testing requirements by the Ministry of Transport.
Shi said that the car suspected of having a fake plate is note related to the iAcrophobia group. “Though we can accept the fines, we won’t give up our hobby,” Shi said.
The raid was part of a national crackdown on illegal car modifications.