Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 12:04 UK

'Lucky' number plate gang jailed

Cars in Beijing, 2008
The number 8 is considered to be auspicious in China

A Beijing court has jailed and fined five men for fighting over a "lucky" licence plate containing the auspicious number 8888, Chinese media report.

The men used knives and clubs to beat anyone who came near a machine issuing the number plates at a Beijing vehicle registration centre, Beijing News said.

Several people were injured, one of them seriously, it added.

Three men were sentenced to one year in jail. All were ordered to pay $8,000 (£5,000) to compensate the victims.

The incident occurred in July last year as number plates ending with the numbers "8888" were about to be issued, the reports said.

The ringleader, identified only as Xu, had paid four accomplices 10,000 yuan ($1,500) to guard the machine.

The number eight is considered auspicious in China because it sounds similar to the word for "to make money".

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