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Beijing traffic police officer backs up "work in the dark"
Updated: 2005-04-16 22:00

Despite complaints from drivers about policemen hiding behind street corners to spot traffic violations, officials with the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau said recently that the authority will not call off the special service to prevent and control accidents.

"Policemen are entitled to maintain traffic order in the streetand so far no law specifically prohibits the officers from monitoring while hiding in the shadow, which is proved an efficient way to reduce violations," said Zhao Jiqiang, director of the legal affairs department at the Bureau.

The practice began decades ago in Beijing when drivers tended to break traffic rules indiscriminately when they saw no police inthe street. Violations were especially frequent at crossroads and no U-turn zones, which often led to serious accidents or traffic jams.

The police learned to hide to catch the violators, even though drivers, taxi drivers in particular, criticized the measure, calling it "setting a trap."

Zhao defended the practice, calling it "the most effective measure" to frighten law breakers and help drivers cultivate the habit of obeying traffic laws.

Traffic violations cause 85 percent of the road accidents in Beijing, said the official, who added that the work "in the dark" will continue.

He also said the traffic authority will use high-tech devices such as cameras and radar systems to improve accuracy and efficiency.

Zhao said that drivers can appeal to higher management or courts if they are not satisfied with any punishment that policemen mete out, but officers will keep on monitoring drivers behavior "in the dark."

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