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Fewer parking fines for diplomats in Helsinki – but some don't pay anyway

Embassy staff from Turkey, Russia and China rack up the most fines – and are least likely to pay them.

Paying for parking tickets is voluntary for diplomats. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Diplomats from Turkey, Russia and China collected the highest number of parking fines in Helsinki last year.

Figures from the city's Urban Environment Division, certain countries stand out for not usually paying fines.

Under diplomatic immunity agreements, paying for parking tickets is voluntary for diplomats.

Leading the way last year was Turkey with 35 parking fines, all unpaid. Russian vehicles were issued 28 fines, of which 23 were not paid. Chinese diplomatic vehicles were slapped with 21 tickets, of which 17 remained unpaid.

The only other country with more than 10 fines was France, most of them also unpaid.

Meanwhile diplomatic personnel from the United States and Saudi Arabia paid nearly all their parking tickets.

And a number of embassies had unblemished records, with no tickets for illegal parking.

Scofflaws may be clamped

Altogether 250 parking fines were issued last year in Helsinki for cars with CD or C license plates. Of these, 88 were paid off.

The number of tickets stuck under the wipers of diplomatic vehicles has dropped steadily since the turn of the millennium, when they usually totalled over 1,000 annually.

By 2013 that had fallen by half and by 2017 to less than 350 a year.

Parking fines are 60-80 euros and must be paid within 30 days, for non-diplomats.

An illegally parked vehicle with five or more unpaid and non-appealable parking fines may be rendered immovable with a wheel clamp.