Taxi cameras may be introduced to keep drivers in check in Hong Kong

With over 2,000 cases reported of taxi driver malpractice in the first quarter of 2016 alone, a local taxi group has announced plans to install recording devices in vehicles to improve the service quality of taxis in the city.

According to The Association of Taxi Industry Development, this plan comes in response to the government's proposal to introduce a premium taxi service,whose drivers would be required to undergo ‘adequate training and supervision’. The scheme has come under heavy criticism from the Hong Kong Taxi Council and local taxi drivers however, who fear that the premium taxis could lead to unfair competition.

The taxi group hopes that installing cameras in taxis would prevent drivers from overcharging, refusing hire and taking longer routes, however critics cite concerns for privacy as a concern.

According to The Standard, Privacy Commissioner Stephen Wong Kai-yi has neither endorsed nor offered legal advice to the programme and will not support the move as the commission is an independent statutory. However, he hopes for a balance between public interest and protecting passengers' privacy and suggested that a bilingual warning sticker would need to be placed on each vehicle to notify passengers.

The group remains hopeful about winning the government's support for the programme, and will continue to push to increase public confidence in taxi drivers in Hong Kong.

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