I have been driving in Hong Kong for a year now, and I have not driven more than 10 km/hr over the posted or unposted speed limit over the year. This may sound unusual to people who know me from my days in Canada.
I have always driven a sports car in the past on the wide and straight roads of Toronto that have lots of room and many lanes. If you drive on the 401 in Toronto at speeds less than 100 km/hr you would be considered slow, because the common driving speed is 130 km/hr or more even though the posted limit is 100 km/hr.
So you would think that driving in HK, with their so-called highways of 70km/hr speed limits, and a single highway with 110km/hr limit, would be a diffifcult transition for me.
What is keeping my speed legal? First of all the price of a speeding ticket. For any speed exceeding the posted or unposted limit by 15 km/hr or less the fine is, HKD320.00 (approx. CND64.00). The fines go up rapidly from then on for every 10 km/hr above the limit. Also, driving points will be deducted for any speed exceeding 15 km/hr.
You may say the fines in Toronto are much higher, and they start deducting driving points after exceeding 10 km/hr. So what is the difference? Why are so many people still speeding in Toronto; driving at speeds of 130 km/hr to 160 km/hr on the highways.
Well, the difference are the “speed traps” and photo radars which the Hong Kong police put up along the highways and roads. Speed traps are police officers armed with laser speed radars. They set themselves up at positions where by the time you see them, it would be too late. They also have a massive number (8 – 10) of supporting officers, as compared to Toronto standards, to chase after speeders caught on their radars.
I have yet to look into the viability of using a radar detector like the ones used in Toronto, but even with a radar detector I doubt it would be too effective given the narrow and curvey roads.
Based on the above you would think that no one in Hong Kong speeds, but that’s not true. The professional drivers have their ways to counter this. Such as call stations for Taxi drivers that will report all speed trap locations upon request. For private car drivers, Pager Operators periodically send speed trap locations to their subscribers. Even regular radio stations would report so called “leng jai wai” (literally translated as “handsome location”) at the end of regular news broadcasts.
So the lesson is simple – don’t bother to speed in Hong Kong unless you have lots of money to loose.