SHANGHAI traffic police are warning drivers to leave no-parking zones as soon as possible to avoid being fined while sitting in their vehicles.
Some drivers park themselves inside their vehicles in no-parking zones for long periods, taking advantage of the fact that police cannot easily fine them as long as they are in the vehicle.
According to regulations, fines can be given only when drivers refuse to drive away after a police warning. Drivers who are warned sometimes drive back to the space after police are gone.
But officers say they will crack down on such violators using surveillance cameras. Violators will receive tickets days after they are spotted parking in banned places for long.
On a main thoroughfare in downtown Changning District, a yellow board has been erected to ask drivers not to park within an area monitored by cameras. Traffic police said the board's warning has the same effect as an officer's oral warning.
"The vehicle plates will be photographed and traffic police will then decide whether it's illegal parking," an officer said.
Changning Road, near a business hub, has severe illegal parking problems, especially near schools as some drivers wait alongside roads for a long time to pick up their children.
"I cannot even get on the bus when all those private cars park alongside," said a nearby resident surnamed Xu waiting at a bus station.
Such surveillance camera-backed enforcement will be spread to more roads around the city, police said.
Last year, police reported 2.18 million cases of illegal parking. This year, there have been 630,000. Violators are fined 200 yuan (US$32.22) each.