Is Chiang Mai becoming a police state with its CCTV Network?
The freedom we all know in Chiang Mai may be disappearing and I am thinking, is it becoming a police state? With a large CCTV network of cameras and the usual police check points, maybe it is. It’s always a good idea to wear your helmet these days and I would never consider telling people not to. I have always worn my helmet and it is very difficult for me to ride without a helmet even just around the corner.
Recently, we have observed a whole lot more checkpoints and police activities especially around the area. Watching Facebook, you notice a lot more traction and commenting on posts involving being fined for not wearing helmets or having international licenses whilst riding around Chiang Mai. Yes we understand what we are doing is illegal, but frustrations arise when we see similar things happening and local people are not being fined for offences that are committing.
So it really seems that the police are targeting foreigners and tourists, when many perpetrators are going straight passed with no consequences. Where will this go in the future?
City Wide CCTV Network of Cameras
You may notice that there are a few more cameras around Chiang Mai city and have heard of the government’s CCTV network promotions for a safer city with the introduction of the system as well as improved traffic management and flow. I have been a little interested in this project, especially the positioning of many cameras as they don’t seem to be positioned for this at all. There are cameras every 200-300 meters down the length of the East side of the moat.
I had cause to visit the CCTV network headquarters in regards to an accident, but I was given an explanation of the system and the recent upgrades which saw the number of cameras go from 100 to 220 keeping watch over Chiang Mai. This is massive growth and just about every intersection in Chiang Mai is covered now. Well now I have come to realize what the real purpose of these cameras are.
Just the other day, I noticed several new signed with pictures of the CCTV network cameras and a helmet, I suspect they are about catching everyone who rides without a helmet and sending infringement notices in the mail. This is supposed to be starting the 15th May 2017 which is when the signs appeared, thanks for the warning.
A friend of mine recently received this in the mail and several rental offices have collected fines for unhelmeted riders in the past few months. This will be very annoying for rental agencies who will receive these fines in the mail up to a month after their customers have left.
The letter you don’t wan’t to get.
It’s in Thai, but says to go to the Muang Police Station in Ratchadermnern Road aka Sunday Night Walking Street, just down from Wat Prasing.
You’re a star! Everyone wants to take pictures of you!
It is a bit of a shame that these cameras have been installed to protect the city and now will be used against its inhabitants. I mean it’s one way to get everyone wearing helmets but it’s a little bit devious as well.
The message is clear, WEAR HELMETS OR YOU WILL BE VERY POPULAR AND GET A WHOLE LOT OF MAIL COMING IN.