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Bidders in the lucky car number plate auction last weekend (May 23 and 24) paid out B20,552,000 for plates they hope will bring them luck, wealth or simply a good life.
Other high bids, all for Korkai-Yoryak plates, were B500,000 for 8888, B420,000 for 1111, B255,000 for 8899, B220,000 for 2222 and B200,000 for 3333.
The totals raised have been falling year by year, from B30.5 million in 2012, to B26 million in 2013, and B23.7 million last year.
The winning 9999 bid came from Thanat Leela-Anantawong. He was bidding on behalf of his father, Kittichai, who told The Phuket News, “The number 9999 has been my favourite for a long time. I have been attending the auction for seven years and so far this is the fourth 9999 plate I have successfully bid for.
“I also won 1111 this time, for B420,000.”
He said that the new plate will go on on his new SLK Mercedes, with the other three being assigned to Isuzu, Ford and Mitsubishi pickup trucks he owns.
Asked why he is willing to spend so much for a couple of pieces of tin, he said, “It is about feeling good with your plate. The number 9 is the best number, the luckiest number. You can see that 9999 is always the most expensive in the auctions.
“Also, it makes me happy to know that my money will be helping traffic victims,” Mr Kittichai added.
Money raised from the annual auction goes to the Department of Land Transport’s Traffic Safety Foundation, which provides support for road accident victims such as buying artificial legs and wheelchairs.
Chairing the event was Governor Nisit Jansomwong. He said, “The auction seemed to attract a lot of local Phuket people.
“Even though I did not bid myself, I felt excited by the atmosphere, with the skilful auctioneer pushing up the prices, and by seeing how much people were prepared to pay to get the plate they wanted.”