CCTV to be used to battle illegal parking in Kowloon East

Pilot scheme hopes to reduce congestion and improve parking situation in Kwun Tong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 9:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 10:59pm

Closed-circuit television will be installed in Kowloon East in the first quarter of next year under a pilot scheme to test its effectiveness in reducing illegal parking.

The plan was revealed by the Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung at a Kwun Tong District Council meeting on Thursday afternoon, where a number of councillors raised their concerns about road congestion and other traffic problems brought about by illegal parking in the district, where large industrial vehicles are common.

“If the results of the test prove the feasibility [of using CCTV], we would seek to amend the laws,” said Lo, emphasising that privacy concerns would need to be addressed if the use of CCTV was to be normalised.

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According to the guidelines on using CCTV compiled by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, an evaluation must be done before installing cameras to monitor activities in public spaces.

The police is required by the guideline to stipulate the goal and scope of using CCTV, prove that the CCTV is an effective tool to reduce illegal parking and no better alternative is available.

The guidelines also suggest putting up conspicuous notices at the entrance to the places monitored by CCTV and to limit the resolution and use of the footage.

A police spokesman said while privacy has always been a concern with the police’s use of CCTV, other potential amendments needed would be found and then handed to the Transport and Housing Bureau.

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Behind the pilot project lies a police task force studying ways to use technology to facilitate law enforcement against illegal parking.

In the first seven months of 2017, 34,102 parking tickets were issued in Kwun Tong alone, 6,000 more than the same period of last year.

“It’s not only bothering Kwun Tong,” said Lo to 36 district councillors on Thursday. “I have heard complaints in many other district council meetings.”

In the first half of 2017, more than 830,000 parking tickets were issues across the city, marking a 40 per cent annual jump.

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In July, a territory-wide action against illegal parking was launched, during which unscheduled inspections were carried out on parking black spots and vehicles causing serious congestion or posing dangers on public roads would get tickets or even be towed away without warning.

However, law enforcement would never be enough to eliminate the illegal behaviour, the police chief admitted. Therefore the technological solution, as seen in many foreign countries as well as in mainland cities, was welcomed by officers.

The Energising Kowloon East Office under the Development Bureau has agreed to team up for the pilot project, while support from the Transport and Housing Bureau and the Transport Department was still needed, according to Lo.