Those with a keen eye may notice different coloured license plates while driving through the streets of Pyongyang. With blue, black, red, green and yellow license plates to be seen, each colour can give a small insight into who might be driving each car.
Blue license plates
The most common colour to be seen is the blue license plate. All blue license plates are state-owned vehicles. They may be registered to companies or businesses, but are essentially all owned by the state.
Black license plates
Second most common is the black license plates. These are all vehicles owned by the military and can come in the form of vans, buses and cars.
Green license plates
Occasionally you will see green license plates as driven by embassy workers, NGOs and other foreign organisations based in Pyongyang.
Red license plates
Red license plates are reserved for privately owned foreign vehicles, generally by Chinese businesspeople based in Pyongyang.
Yellow license plates
Possibly the rarest of the plates is the yellow plate, driven exclusively by local Koreans who are lucky enough to own their own car. Famous sports people who have won gold medals or successfully performed abroad can be gifted cars, so it’s safe to say that whoever is behind the wheel of a yellow-plated vehicle has done something pretty special.
727 license plates
In amongst all these colours, look out for license plates started with 727, signifying July 27 – the DPRK’s date for their Victory Day. These cars are driven by high state officials and come in a variety of colours.
If you cannot read Korean, you might be wondering what the Korean characters at the beginning of each plate mean. These characters are the name of the city in which this car is registered.