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Wed 4 Mar 2015 01:40 PM

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Kuwait motorists complain cars are impounded ‘unnecessarily’

More than 2,000 vehicles impounded each week, forcing owners to pay large sums of money to get them back

Kuwait motorists complain cars are impounded ‘unnecessarily’
(Getty Images)

Traffic police in Kuwait often confiscate cars without valid reason, forcing owners to pay large sums of money to retrieve them, it was claimed on Wednesday.

More than 2,000 vehicles are impounded each week for traffic offenses, the Kuwait Times said. However, it claimed cars are often seized for reasons other than the 22 offenses listed on the Ministry of Interior’s website.

Motorists have reportedly complained that traffic officials are abusing the law, by impounding vehicles and then charging their owners large sums of money to retrieve them.

In many cases forklifts are used to tow the cars away – meaning owners are forced to pay for damage sustained by their vehicles in the process.

A motorist named only as Fahd reportedly told the paper his friend’s vehicle was seized simply because his fuel tank was less than a quarter full. The forklift damaged his car and he had to pay KD 1,000 ($3,365) to repair it.

When he filed a case, the spokesman reportedly said, it was delayed for more than two years and eventually dismissed because the offending policeman knew the officials working at that police station.

“Many policemen are exploiting their authority and break laws. If you don’t have wasta, you are lost,” he said.

The newspaper quoted Major Nasser Buslaib, head of the security media department at the Ministry of Interior, as responding: “The violating vehicle is immediately towed to [either of the ministry’s two garages in Mina Abdullah and Subha] without holding it temporarily in any other place.

“The violator is always informed where his vehicle will be transferred. If he doesn’t collect it after a certain period (usually a few months) it may be sold at public auction.”

However, Buslaib added that the director-general of the Traffic Department sometimes issues a decree under which policemen are allowed to impound vehicles for violations not included in the traffic law. “[He] has the authority and power to issue such decrees,” he stated.

“Also, some new rules or decrees may be issued but have not been added to the website yet, such as impounding vehicles for parking in spaces reserved for the disabled.”

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Concerned Expat 5 years ago

my car was JUST impounded today, the reason: the officer saw a sticker on my side door. a sticker i have had for the 5 years i owned the vehicle, and a sticker the police saw 3 times when i took my car for registration renewal. he was even impounding cars that had the brand name emblazoned on the side like Pajero or Prado. it is ridiculous.