An online government page showing traffic conditions has “malfunctioned”, leaving the public unable to assess road conditions as President Xi Jinping passes through the city.

The Transport Department’s page provides snapshots and live webcasts of the city’s traffic situation. HKFP checked the website at 9:20am on Friday morning but it showed “no service” for each of the webcams.

Photo: Screenshot.

A spokesperson for the Transport Department told HKFP the traffic live cast and snapshot service were suspended by 7am, and asked the contractor to follow up. After investigation, the contractor found its system’s hardware had a malfunction.

The service returned to normal around 12:45pm after repairing.

The government has stepped up security measures across Hong Kong ahead of the official visit, citing terror threats. Giant barriers have appeared around Wan Chai, where Xi Jinping is staying and attending a number of official events.

Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan at the Hong Kong Airport. Photo: GovHK.

Police say officers have been deployed and roads closed as a security measure to protect Xi, who arrived on Thursday for a three day visit. However, it was unclear if the security operation was related to the cameras going dark.

Henry Chai Man-hon, a Southern District councillor, told HKFP he noticed some cameras on Hong Kong Island were offline on Thursday as well.

Traffic on June 30. Photo: Screenshot.

Many drivers have a habit of looking at traffic conditions before leaving home every day, Chai said.

He said malfunctions for a short period of time often occur, but a malfunction affecting all cameras for a long time was unheard of.

Update 19:00: updated response from Transport Department.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.