‘Pico y trap’: the denunciation of the fake license plate market in Bogotá

With hidden cameras, the criminal organizations that operate in the center of Bogotá, in the known sector were identified such as La Playa and who have dedicated themselves to manufacturing false license plates for vehicles and motorcycles. The object: to avoid the city’s extended peak and license plate.

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According to a complaint by councilor Óscar Ramírez, from the Democratic Center, “what was found is a gang that operates in the sector where they sell apparently stolen auto parts, in addition to this, they counterfeit license plates from 250,000 pesos The incredible thing is that customers can select the license plate of the car model they want to evade the measure of Pico y Placa that governs the city, and even for criminal acts such as home thefts and bank robberies.”

How does this market work?

It all starts when the customer, interested in acquiring a fake license plate, enters the mechanical repair shop where a subject offers him this service with total normality. Although the first contact occurs there, it is not in that place where the adulterated articles are manufactured.There, the man refers the client to another subject who is the who designs and makes the plates.

Once this contact is made, both the seller and the client remain in contact via WhatsApp and this is where the rest of the operation is handled. In a video of the complaint, it can be seen how the forger tells the client the requirements that he must have in order to make the plate. He offers one of these for the model, brand and color of car that the customer needs and also says the one that he can register directly in the SIM (Integral Services System for Mobility).

The cost of this procedure is barely 250,000 pesos and criminals offer payment options such as bank transfers or money transfers through technological applications.

The operation takes an average of four or five days to perform. Once the plate is ready, the manufacturer sends it by courier to the customer’s location. The surprising thing about this fact is that when it arrives, the adulterated license plate is unwrapped and in full view of everyone.

In light of this issue, the authorities have deployed traffic and transportation operations throughout the city to verify that both the car plates and motorcycles correspond to what is registered on the property card and to the other identification systems that are marked on different internal parts of vehicles.

During 2021, the traffic authorities imposed 235 comparendos throughout the country for infractions such as driving with plates adulterated, retouched or altered. The stipulated fines amount to 8 current legal daily minimum wages.

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