Do we need spy cameras in Hong Kong?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 June, 2009, 12:00am

Ronald Ling Pak-ki, 18, SKH Bishop Mok Sau Tseng Secondary School

Several recent incidents in the city, including the acid attacks and attacks on taxi drivers, have got the public talking about spy cameras.

We are all familiar with CCTV systems. There are cameras capturing our actions in all sorts of places: lifts, malls, office buildings. These spy cameras are meant to increase security.

But they have many weaknesses. For example, no camera can film everything at all times. There are always blind spots. What's more, if a criminal knows there is CCTV, he or she will find a way to avoid being filmed.

The installation of spy cameras raises the issue of privacy. Although we are told where CCTV is installed, it is impossible to prevent recorded video from being shared. It is worrying to think what could happen to the footage in the era of information sharing.

Spy cameras can of course provide evidence for the police, but only after the crimes happen.

I believe most Hong Kong citizens are well-educated and considerate. The crime rate is very low in Hong Kong, so I can't see any real need for spy cameras.

We need better civic education to protect the public - not spy cameras.

Anthea Wong, 17, Hong Kong International School

Everybody has the right to privacy. Some people may consider installing spy cameras a violation of human rights. Although being watched may make some people feel uncomfortable, spy cameras are necessary for our protection.

Hong Kong is a very liberal society and people can freely enter and leave the city. But this also means less well-meaning people can easily carry out all sorts of attacks.

In order to improve public safety, spy cameras are crucial in public places. For example, MTR stations could be targeted by criminals as they are always busy. The MTR is also an easy way to evade capture. But spy cameras deter this sort of anti-social behaviour, increasing public safety.

Installing spy cameras can help reduce the crime rate. As the world is going through an economic crisis, many people are desperate for money, and so crime rates are rapidly increasing. If cameras captured the crimes, and helped identify offenders, other potential criminals would be dissuaded from doing something similar.

Although spy cameras may cause inconvenience to some people, we will be living in a safer city with an even lower crime rate.