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Traffic and road safety in Hong Kong

Watch out, Hong Kong drivers – cameras will be recording where you pull over, as police step up battle against motorists causing traffic jams

Roll-out of video recording devices at black spots citywide aims to gather evidence to make prosecutions easier

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 5:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 11:31pm

If you’re one of those Hong Kong drivers who tend to stop where they shouldn’t, you might want to think again from Wednesday.

A six-month citywide trial of video cameras at traffic black spots is set to go live from August 1 to help police gather evidence against those who commit offences that cause congestion.

Video recording devices will be installed at different locations at least once a week, but the force would not say how many spots would be involved or how long each was to be targeted.

Denis Li Man-kit, chief inspector of the police force’s traffic branch, said the scheme was aimed at unblocking unnecessarily clogged up roads.

It will primarily target six offences: picking up or dropping off of passengers in restricted zones, loading or unloading goods in restricted areas, unauthorised stopping at bus stops or taxi stands, bus drivers and taxis stopping for longer than necessary, unlawful entry of yellow-box intersections, and U-turns that cause obstructions.

“We are trying to reduce the [chances of] confrontation between the public and police by gathering more evidence,” Li said. “When there’s a not-guilty plea in court, we will have more evidence to support our case.

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“With the use of cameras, people might be deterred from committing these offences.”

Li said the officer in charge of each district would select the black spots to be monitored.

The trial will roll out cameras citywide following a two-month pilot in Kowloon East and New Territories North between December last year and January.

Li said the result of that initial scheme had been “satisfactory”, with 540 fixed-penalty tickets issued.

“We did not receive many complaints. Most of the offending drivers complied with the officers when they were caught,” Li said. “With video footage, normally they admit the offence and pay the fine.”

For the coming trial, Li said officers would either stop and issue tickets on the spot or review the footage and track down the offender later.

The scheme would also help with police staffing needs, he said.

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“Those officers who can’t perform outdoor duties due to injuries or other reasons, can be deployed to help check records and footage. More frontline officers can then be assigned more frequently to traffic enforcement duty on the street.”

Li also vowed to combat illegal parking. Officers would continue with “stringent” enforcement by issuing tickets or towing vehicles, he said.

The number of parking tickets issued in Hong Kong rose 14 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period last year.

The force would review the new scheme after six months of operation, Li said.