Local motorists ignored a new police “Video Recording Traffic Enforcement Zone” on Queen’s Road Central this week, with illegal parking, double parking and illegal unloading on double yellow lines as rampant as ever on the busy road stretch.
In English, the “Video Recording Traffic Enforcement Zone” banner implies some sort of camera might be watching the zone – but in Chinese, the banner reads “Mobile video recording traffic enforcement zone”, revealing there is no fixed camera in place.
Police confirmed video evidence is only captured by the police Mobile Video Team (MVT) if it drives past the site.
The MVT – essentially an auxiliary police officer with a video camera in the back of a police Sprinter – was launched in 2019.
The original idea, according to a police source, was to catch drivers in situations difficult to reach with fixed roadside cameras, such as drivers using their mobile phones on tunnel approaches. By the third quarter of 2020 it expanded to traffic offences such as box junction abuse and unloading on double yellow lines.
Asked how many prosecutions the MVT had achieved, a police spokesman said “Police do not maintain MVT-related enforcement figures.”
The MVT project is relatively lo-fi compared to earlier police plans for a machine learning-based system detecting traffic offences at Queen’s Road Central and Wyndham Street. That HK$2.2 million project was dismantled and moved in mid-2019 on fears the equipment would be damaged in protest violence.
Meanwhile in the first quarter of this year, new police figures show the number of pedestrians ticketed for offences rose a staggering 1,085% in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the first quarter of 2020, to an average of 26 every day.