Drivers and pedestrians in a central China city were shocked when fellow citizens began stopping them to demand they pay fines for breaking traffic regulations.
A driver surnamed Zhang said "someone suddenly knocked his window" when he was waiting for the lights to turn green demanding payment. He had stopped for the red light but had encroached on the crosswalk.[ Photo / dayoo.com]
A driver surnamed Zhang said "someone suddenly knocked his window" when he was waiting for the lights to turn green demanding payment. He had stopped for the red light but had encroached on the crosswalk.
"He said he would fine me 10 yuan (US$1.57) and then several others rushed to surround my car," Zhang said.
The men weren't in uniform but wore armbands. "I didn't know if they were traffic police or urban management officials, and why did they have the right to fine me? Ten yuan is just a little sum, what really matters is an official explanation," Zhang said.
The Urban Management Bureau in Shaoyang, Hunan Province revealed that, beginning August, it has entrusted 1,000 city environment inspectors to fine offenders. The group, aged between 40 and 60, are being paid 500 yuan (US$78.65) a month and get to keep 80 percent of the fines they collect, the authority said.
However, the city government legal affairs office. which supervises law enforcement, said those inspectors are not in the position to enforce the law. The office is in talks with the urban management authority about the issue, yesterday's Xiaoxiang Morning Herald reported.
The city's traffic police and community officials admitted employing members of the public to supervise the city environment, but denied giving them the right to issue fines. They said that would have been the urban management.
For their part, urban management officials said they were just carrying out the plan the local government had worked out, the newspaper said.
But the report also said that the government had never authorized "environment inspectors" to issue fines in its notice issued on June 29 which aimed to regulate and enhance the daily behavior of residents.
Wang Yingshuai, a Hunan lawyer, told the newspaper that government bodies are not entitled to entrusting others to carry out administrative punishments. Besides, any fines should be handed over to the government in full, he said.
In 2008, Zhuzhou in Hunan hired 18,299 such inspectors who were said to have collected fines of up to 127,560 yuan in just three months.
And since the start of this year, the province's Xiangtan City had recruited 1,100 people to help authorities crack down on breaches of regulations.