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LCQ20: Use of radar detectors by motorists

    Following is a question by the Hon Lau Kong-wah and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, at the Legislative Council meeting today (March 5):


    It has been reported that certain radar detectors available on the market claim to be capable of detecting the presence of speed enforcement laser guns and cameras used by the Police as well as the locations of red-light cameras. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) it has conducted tests on such devices to determine the validity of their claims;

(b) it has investigated if the use of such devices by motorists has been on the rise in recent years; and

(c) there is currently legislation regulating the sale and the installation of such devices on motor vehicles, and whether it will tighten up the regulation in this regard; if it will, of the details?


Madam President,

(a) The Police have conducted tests on radar or laser receivers available in the market, and found that some of these devices do receive signals generated by radar or laser speed enforcement equipment used by the Police for detecting the speed of vehicles, and emit sounds to alert motorists. However, test results also reveal that the performance of these devices varies. Some are more sensitive in receiving signals and emit alerts at a distance from the Police's speed enforcement locations, while others emit alert even upon receipt of other signals. Some can only pick up signals and emit alerts after the Police's speed enforcement equipment has been activated. As for red-light cameras, since they do not use radar or laser signals to detect vehicles, their operations cannot be detected by these receivers.

(b) The Police observe that radar or laser receivers are not widely used among motorists. As such, we have not conducted any survey on the use of these devices by motorists.

(c) Radar or laser receivers available in the market are radiolocation receivers. Under the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap 106) and Telecommunications (Radio Receivers)(Exemption From Licensing) Order (Cap 106P), a person is not required to hold a licence in respect of a receiver for radio location. Possession, use or sale of radar or laser receivers with specifications in compliance with the exemption order is not an offence under the Telecommunications Ordinance.

    Much of the speed enforcement equipment is installed at locations with relatively more traffic accidents involving speeding and red-light jumping. Besides penalising drivers for speeding offences, the main objective of the Police in conducting speed enforcement operations is to remind motorists and enhance the deterrent effect, so that motorists would observe the safety regulations while driving. Currently, motorists may obtain information of the speed enforcement cameras and red-light cameras installed at fixed locations on the website of the Hong Kong Police Force. The purpose of this arrangement is to remind drivers of the need to drive safely.

    We must point out that even if motorists use these radar or laser receivers, they may not be able to avoid Police's speed enforcement operations. Motorists complying with traffic regulations at all times is of utmost importance in safeguarding road safety.

    The Police will continue to pay attention to the use of the radar and laser receivers by motorists and will, in conjunction with the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, examine the need to put these devices under control if necessary.

Ends/Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Issued at HKT 16:49


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