City proposes vehicle paparazzi

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City proposes vehicle paparazzi

The Seoul city government said they will issue fines based on photographs taken by citizens of a vehicle violating traffic or parking regulations.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced yesterday they will roll out an “Internet citizen reporting system,” where citizens can report vehicle violations, including illegal parking on sidewalks, crosswalks and intersections as well as driving in bus-only lanes, to the municipal government’s official violation registry (, from June, after a one-month grace period in May.

The city government said the new policy was carried out in order to reduce vehicle problems and to strengthen drivers’ law-abiding spirit. This volunteer system will not offer any rewards. An average of 3 million traffic law violations are reported per year and about 390,000 cases had been reported in Seoul as of February 2013, the city government said. It added that about 2.7 million cases of illegal parking were reported in 2012.

The city government said citizens can take pictures between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. with their camera or smartphone, but the city must be able to identify where the picture was taken and must include the date and time that tells when a picture was taken.

Citizens must submit two pictures, one containing the location and time of the violation, the other the vehicle’s license plate. The second shot must be taken within one to two minutes after the first picture was taken and they must be submitted within three days.

To take pictures effectively, the city government recommended citizens use their smartphones after installing the “Date print” or “Datecam” application for iPhone users and the “Date camera” app for Android users. It said that these applications include the time and date for each picture.

Citizens can print out and hand over or mail files to a local district office or bring them in on a USB drive.

Those people reporting violations offline must fill out a form that includes the personal profile of the reporter, including name and current address, as well as the location and time of the violation.

If a violation is proven by local governments, fines of 40,000-50,000 won ($35.87-$44.84) will be imposed in accordance with the traffic laws.

“We don’t have enough manpower to manage the city’s illegal parking and other traffic violations because there are about 1,060 civil officials who can issue traffic tickets,” a spokesman for the city government said.

“We expect this could help to reduce violations.”

But there are also those who are worried about the new policy. “I usually have to park my truck about 10 times per day along the side of the road in order to deliver goods,” Park Sang-ki, a parcel delivery man said.

“People can manipulate pictures before they submit them to the local district office,” Park Chang-seon, 31, a Seoul resident said. “The government is basically asking citizens to inform on each other and to do what civil servants are supposed to do.”

By Kwon Sang-soo, Lee Seung-ho []
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