Shenzhen residents are reeling from car purchase limits that went into effect just 20 minutes after the policy was announced.
The restrictions, kicked in at 6 p.m. on Monday, catching people off guard, although some dealers had been aware of the new regulations for at least an hour, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
For the next five years, car purchase quotas will be set at 100,000 units annually, with 20,000 allocated to electric cars and drawn by lots.
The remaining 80,000 will be awarded by lottery or auction.
More than 10,000 police officers were dispatched to various car shops and showrooms immediately after the announcement to stop customers from entering.
Bank transactions were ordered closed, the report said.
People accused the local government of going back on its word after authorities earlier said they were not planning any car purchase restrictions.
However, Shenzhen mayor Xu Qin was quoted as saying his administration will increase parking fees to curb vehicle growth.
By 5 p.m. Monday, many car dealers had become aware of the new policy and encouraged potential buyers to decide before the deadline, the report said.
That triggered frenzied buying, with some shops in Xiangmihu district reportedly raising prices by up to 50,000 yuan (US$8,000).
As of Dec. 20, the number of registered motor cars in Shenzhen had topped 3.14 million, an average annual increase of 16 percent in the past five years.
By the end of 2016, that figure is estimated to hit four million.
The local government has been trying to curb vehicle growth to ease road congestion, armed with increasingly tougher regulations including entry restrictions for out-of-town cars to four key districts – Futian, Luohu, Nanshan and Yantian.
However, Hong Kong cars are not affected by the policy.
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