Speed-detection systems purchased from a local firm were not made in China, despite claims in online reports, the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) said on Thursday.
The directorate said that it did not breach Government Procurement Act (政府採購法) rules concerning the qualification of tenderers in information security projects in purchasing the devices to nab speeders.
The highway authority confirmed the source of the devices after a person calling themselves “Leo” wrote on Facebook that the manufacturer, Eastern Science and Technology, put its label on products made by a Hangzhou, China-based technology firm to evade US tariffs imposed on Chinese-made goods.
The speed cameras, installed on highways, use a point-to-point speed measurement system to determine a vehicle’s average speed by identifying its license plate number and then calculating its speed based on the time it took to travel between two points, Leo wrote.
The average speed recorded on these devices would help police determine whether a driver exceeded the speed limit, Leo said, calling it a massive surveillance program.
The devices use strobe lights made by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, a partially state-owned supplier of video surveillance equipment for civilian and military purposes, Leo said.
Only cameras installed inside Taipei’s Ziqiang Tunnel (自強隧道) — connecting Shilin (士林) and Zhongshan (中山) districts — remain in use, Leo said, adding that if installed elsewhere, they could be used to expose the location of sensitive government facilities.
The directorate said it has used Eastern Science and Technology products in four locations, including the traffic control system it purchased in 2017 and installed inside New Taipei City’s Wanli Tunnel (萬里隧道).
The system, which was not made in China, was removed on June 23 last year after its warranty period ended, the agency said.
The other three units, purchased in 2019, are to be installed along sections of Highway No. 61 and Highway 13A in Miaoli County and Taichung.
The Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection is certifying other devices, which are not yet in use, the DGH said.
“All these devices are purchased following the Government Procurement Act. The contractor had declared in an affidavit that it did not breach enforcement rules of the act related to sensitive, national security and information security projects,” it said.
Suppliers from China or funded by Chinese investors, as well as information service providers receiving funding from China, are banned from participating in national security and information security projects, based on the Investment Commission’s interpretation of the enforcement rules.
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