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Gridlock on China roads after frustrated driver tampers with ‘slow’ traffic lights

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 12:12pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 12:12pm

A motorist in eastern China got so frustrated with slow changing traffic lights that he tried to tamper with the signals, creating massive jams and a road accident, Chinese media reported.

The man was held by police and put in detention for seven days after he was found to have tampered with the lights at two intersections in Qingdao in Shandong province early on Tuesday morning, the Qilu Evening News reported.

His actions caused gridlock along sections of the road near the two vandalised sets of traffic lights and a non-fatal car accident, according to the newspaper.

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The man, whose full name was not given, later told police he had been impatient with the lights “taking too long to change”, particularly in the middle of the night, an unnamed police officer said in a report on the Miaopai video sharing website.

The incident unfolded when the man was driving a black Volkswagen at 3.08 am on Tuesday. He got out of the car at a red light and began fiddling with the traffic signal box at the intersection. The red light flashed, before continuously blinking yellow, surveillance video showed.

He then got out at another junction at 3.17am to tamper with a traffic light, causing it to also flash yellow.

Police said they first thought the lights were broken, but later discovered they had been tampered with.

Officers traced the motorist through surveillance footage and the licence plate of his car.

The motorist, 57, works as a driver for a ride-hailing company, the report said.

This is not the first time motorists in China have tried to circumvent traffic control systems.

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A passenger in a van tried to conceal its vehicle’s license plate last week from surveillance cameras as it reversed up a motorway in Hebei province.

A driver in Shanghai was arrested in February for using a slingshot to break a traffic camera because he felt he had been waiting too long for lights to change.