Crossing against the red man

By plantwhisperer in Life in Germany,
In Cologne I've heard plenty of stories about policemen hiding around corners, waiting to fine people for crossing the road with the man was red (regardless of whether there is traffic). In one place, what looks like a webcam has appeared mounted on top of the signal thing, presumably as part of a scheme to do the same. It points at where pedestrians would be walking, and activates when you start to cross (the red "active" light appears).   With the police lying in wait for pedestrians, and the cologne BBQ police in full force, it is clear that the city of Cologne must be stoney broke, but where do I stand legally if I cross the road when there is no traffic but the man isn't green? If no problem is caused (no swerving or even slowing down of traffic), have I committed a crazy German offence?   I'm sure it won't stop me crossing an empty road if you all tell me it is completely illegal, but at least I'll know where I stand.   Bonus question: Am I breaking the law if I throw a hat or something over the webcam thing so it can't watch me anymore? (I cross there on a regular basis). Shouldn't there be signs alerting me to the fact it is in operation? I wish I had asked questions the day I saw them putting it up.
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