Pictured: The excessive CCTV installations watching one road in Shanghai

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 5:58pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 12:35pm

Drivers travelling along Youyi Road in central Shanghai are unlikely to violate any traffic rules as more than 45 monitoring devices appear to have been installed in one place.

Photos widely circulated on China’s news portals and social networking websites show a structure, reportedly installed close to an intersection in Baoshan district, with two arms stretching across each side of the road covered with devices that looked like TV cameras.

On, one of the largest news portals in China, the photo gallery headline reads: “Over 50 surveillance devices watching one road in Shanghai shock passersby”.

While the cameras might prove an effective deterrent to potential traffic violators members of the online community were infuriated, judging from the thousands of comments in the photo gallery.

Many online users questioned the need for so many devices in one place. They expressed concern that it was a waste of public money, and suggested instead that they be installed across the city rather than at one point.

Baoshan police did not respond to repeated phone calls on Tuesday.

But Shanghai news portal later on Tuesday reported the devices belonged to Baokang Electronic, a manufacturer of signals and devices used by the police, citing a company engineer Xue Xiaogang.

“They are installed for testing. Only a few them are cameras, many are various kinds of flashlights to allow cameras to operate in the dark,” the website quoted Xue as saying.

A spokeswoman for Shenzhen-based Launch Digital Technology, a surveillance equipment manufacturer whose customers include the government, said it was odd to have so many cameras installed in one place.

“Normally one camera is sufficient to cover one lane. But the photos show 10 CCTV cameras overlooking a two-lane road,” said the spokeswoman who declined to give her name.

“Police may feel it is necessary to install extra surveillance equipment to cover blind spots or if the traffic situation there is complicated,” she added. “Also, different cameras are installed to monitor traffic at different distances.”

“In addition, sometimes local police officials who oversee security issues and traffic authorities each operate their own monitoring devices. So it is possible that sometimes duplicate devices are installed,” she said.