Picture of speed camera on fire was taken in Taiwan not England

4 December 2023
What was claimed

A photo of a traffic camera on fire shows that “the English seem to be copying the French”.

Our verdict

The picture wasn’t taken in England or France, but in Taiwan in 2018.

A post on Facebook featuring an image of a traffic camera on fire has the caption: “The English seem to be copying the French”.

Although the post implies the photo was taken in England or France, it was actually taken several years ago in Taiwan.

Various Taiwanese news outlets featured the image in reporting about a speed camera that was set alight in October 2018. FTV News reported (translated with Google) that a 37-year-old man was arrested for arson, after having driven his friend’s car at double the speed limit of 60kph (37mph) in the area, so set fire to the camera to try and destroy the evidence.

The post appears in a group opposed to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a scheme in London where drivers of certain vehicles that don’t meet specific emissions standards must pay £12.50 per day to drive. There have been multiple reports of people damaging ULEZ enforcement cameras.

The reference to France may be referring to the action of “gilet jaunes” (yellow vest) protesters who reportedly vandalised 60% of the country’s speed cameras in 2019, or a joke alluding to multiple examples of French protesters setting things alight.

We’ve checked other false claims about speed cameras, including misleading posts about an Edinburgh emissions camera and another about M20 traffic flow cameras. We’ve also written about ULEZ, covering false posts that said cars must be electric to comply with the scheme, posts that conflate ULEZ with the Low Emission Zone and that journeys to places of worship are exempt from ULEZ. 

You can read our guide on how to spot misleading images online here.

Image courtesy of Jonnie Turpie

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