Taxi cameras planned to rein in abusive behaviour


A taxi group representing a third of the 18,000 cabs in Hong Kong said on Monday that it plans to install recording devices in the vehicles to try to prevent unscrupulous behaviour.

The Association for Taxi Industry Development said the plan was aimed at countering the government’s proposal to introduce premium taxi services.

It hopes installing video cameras in taxis could prevent drivers from overcharging, refusing hire and from being rude. It said this would also help enhance their service.

Under the plan, recording would begin when a journey starts and the data would be encrypted to ensure it could not be tampered with. The association said the recordings will only be given to the police when they are asked to assist in investigations.

The association hopes to install the devices in about 2,000 taxis within a year. Each device will cost around HK$1,000 and the association will bear the cost.

A spokesman for the group, Chan Man-keung, said they have consulted the Privacy Commissioner’s office that said it will have no objections so long as certain conditions were fulfilled.

But the Privacy Commissioner, Stephen Wong, said his office has not, and will not support the move.

In a statement, he said his office thinks a balance has to be struck between public interest and protecting passengers’ privacy.

The office recommends that the taxi trade consider other options and evaluate the risk of invading people’s privacy.

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