Taiwanese driver burns traffic camera to avoid speeding ticket

Speeder sets fire to traffic enforcement camera to destroy evidence in Tainan, Taiwan

Charred traffic enforcement camera.

Charred traffic enforcement camera. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In an attempt at getting out of a hefty speeding ticket, a man in southern Taiwan's Tainan City on Oct. 1 set fire to a traffic enforcement camera, reported UDN.

Tainan police on Friday (Oct. 5) arrested a man for allegedly setting fire to a speed camera in the early hours of Oct. 1. The suspect, identified as 37-year-old male resident of Rende District surnamed Tseng (曾), on Sept. 29 had been driving a friend's modified car on Yongcheng Road at over 100 kilometers per hour.

However, because the posted speed limit in the area is only 60 kilometers per hour, Tseng worried that his friend, who is the owner of the vehicle, could have his driver's license revoked. In order to destroy the evidence of going 40 kilometers per hour over the speed limit, Tseng decided to burn the nearby traffic enforcement camera.

At about 2 a.m. on Oct. 1, Tseng changed into a blue jumpsuit, put on gloves, poured gasoline into an empty battery acid bottle, carried a gas torch and rode an unlicensed scooter to the site where the traffic camera was located. He then placed used tires around the base of the camera, poured gasoline on them and set them alight.

The fire department was alerted to the fire, but by the time firefighters arrived, the camera had been badly burned and was no longer operational.

On Oct. 5, the Tainan City Police Department announced that they had arrested Tseng and that he had confessed to setting the camera on fire. Tseng also expressed regret over his actions and indicated willingness to pay for the cost to repair the camera.

Police transferred Tseng to the Prosecutor's Office on charges of public endangerment and damaging public property. According to the Statute Governing Road Traffic (道路交通管理處罰條例), motorists who exceed the 60 kilometers per hour speed limit can be punished with a fine ranging between NT$6,000 (US$193) and NT$24,000 (NT$775) and also have their license plate suspended for three months.

Police said that the speed camera was the first in the city's history and this year alone had already captured 6,000 speeding violations, raking in nearly NT$10 million in fines. The camera itself cost NT$2.48 million to install and the cost to repair the damaged device is estimated to be NT$400,000, for which Tseng will be asked to foot the bill.

According to police, the camera had originally been installed at an approach to Expressway 86 in order to prevent accidents as cars accelerate onto the major freeway.

Charred camera. (CNA image)