By Wang Zhenghua
SHANGHAI - A senior traffic police officer in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, said he was "appalled" by an incident on Saturday in which a fleet of luxury sports cars exceeded the speed limit by up to two times in the city.
The city's traffic police said it had stopped eight out of 34 Ferraris caught racing on Saturday on a highway linking Hangzhou, Xin'anjiang and Jingdezhen.
The vehicles were heading from Shanghai for Zhejiang province to participate in a drag-racing event.
"I was appalled by this group of people risking their own and other people's lives on the highway," said Fang Jianru, a senior officer from the traffic police's highway division.
"It's very dangerous to speed on that section which has many curves, tunnels and bridges," he said, adding that it was the first time he had seen such a large number of cars simultaneously speeding since he joined the force seven years ago.
After a series of high-profile traffic incidents involving the children of wealthy and powerful parents, drivers of expensive cars have been singled out by the media as an example of China's wealth gap.
In one of the most notorious examples, college student Hu Bin raced his Mitsubishi sports car at between 84 km and 101 km per hour in downtown Hangzhou in 2009, killing a man on a crosswalk.
As a result, 20-year-old Hu was jailed for three years and the victim's family received 1.13 million yuan ($206,972) in compensation.
Saturday's incident, which did not cause any casualties, also hit the headlines in the local media due to the value of the vehicles involved - between 2 and 4 million yuan.
Police said that the incident took place at around 2pm on Saturday. Eight of the vehicles were stopped by police at a tollgate on the highway.
According to speed trap records, these cars were traveling at speeds ranging from 154 to 198 kph.
"They passed me like a gust of wind," said a local man who witnessed the scene.
"These are very powerful vehicles but their owners forgot that they were not on a professional racetrack," he added.
Police also said that the owner of a red Ferrari identified as Tang set a new speeding record on the highway by traveling at a speed of 213 kph on a section with a 100 kph limit.
Tang told the police that he was lagging behind the other cars, and was racing to catch up with them.
Six other drivers, also sought for speeding, evaded the police by leaving the highway at the nearest exit.
Police handed three owners 200 yuan fines each while confiscating the driving licenses of five others. One driver, who did not have his license, had his car taken from him instead.