Kowloon West police crack down on rogue cabbies
Seven taxi drivers nabbed for overcharging, using fake currency and other offences
Cabbies are looking forward to the Christmas season as a good money-making opportunity - some devilishly so.
Police in the Kowloon West division have arrested seven taxi drivers in the past month after passengers and undercover officers found the cabbies overcharging, using fake currency or driving away with passengers' luggage. More cases could follow as the division includes taxi-related crimes in its seasonal crackdown on scammers.
The district is home to one of the world's busiest tourist centres, Tsim Sha Tsui, as well as cross-border ports like the mainland ferry piers and trains to Guangzhou and beyond.
Last month, an undercover officer took a cab to the airport and the driver did not turn on the meter and then asked for HK$600.
Upon arrival, the officer paid the driver with two HK$500 notes, only to be given a Peruvian Nuevo Sol note as change. The Peruvian note looks like a HK$500 note.
The cabbie was arrested for being equipped to steal.
In another case, a Canadian-Chinese man took a taxi from the airport to Wan Chai and the cabbie took off with the passenger's HK$1,200 worth of luggage in the trunk.
This was despite the man reminding the driver twice about the luggage during the ride. The cabbie was arrested last month, more than two months after the incident.
Police say catching unscrupulous taxi drivers can be difficult as most victims are unable to recall many useful details.
"Most victims, largely tourists, cannot provide police with information, which makes investigation difficult," said Sylvia So Sau-wai, chief inspector with Kowloon West regional headquarters.
Tourists are advised to jot down the taxi's plate number and the driver's information on the registration shown in the vehicle, said Amy Wong Mei-yee, assistant regional crime prevention officer with Kowloon West.
She said there were no signs that syndicates were behind the incidents, based on information obtained by the crime squads.
Police said they would work with shopping malls and hotels to protect tourists from being scammed.