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Bangkok owns up to fake security cameras

Bogus closed-circuit cameras exposed by crafty message board users
Bangkok cctv 2011 09 21Enlarge
This photo, posted to Thailand's popular Pantip message board, helped expose that Bangkok officials set up more than 1,000 fake surveillance cameras to assure citizens' safety. (Pantip/Screengrab)

Closed-circuit security cameras in Bangkok can capture all sorts of misdeeds like, I don't know, perhaps a transgender 7-11 bandit's stick-up spree.

But only if they're real. Turns out up to 1,300 closed-circuit cameras posted around Bangkok by the city government are not, according to the Bangkok Post.

This revelation is owed to an observant user of a popular Thai message board called Pantip. Said the user in Thai: "The other day I ascended a skywalk, saw four closed-circuit cameras and felt rather relieved. But then I clearly noticed how strange they appeared."

Only the cameras' casings were screwed onto a metal pole. Few passersby would notice that, in fact, there was no camera inside.

A sign promoting the government's safety campaign - slogan: "Looking After You, All Your Life" -- was posted on the same pole. "How are you going to look after us like this?" the message board user wrote. 

The post has snowballed into a much larger story in Thailand and prompted an official response. Yes, a lot of the cameras are bogus, officials admit, but it's not what you think.

It doesn't take a hardened skeptic to assume that the cash allotted for the non-existant cameras just might have gotten lost in a few bureaucrats' pockets. But Bangkok's governor insists the fake cameras were a low-budget method to fake out thieves and deter crime.

In an interview with the Bangkok Post, the governor contends that the 10,000 new cameras bought on his watch -- and heavily promoted in a city safety campaign -- exist and are currently operational.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/bangkok-owns-fake-security-cameras