Good-hearted cabbies call for penalties on industry's black sheep

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 January, 2013, 4:34am

Two cabbies who received awards for their good services have called for tougher government measures to tackle unscrupulous drivers, saying the black sheep were affecting the image of the industry.

Kung Kai-ming and Chan Man were among six cabbies named "Quality Taxi Drivers" in an awards ceremony yesterday. The six were nominated by passengers who were impressed by the help they rendered or their willingness to return lost belongings.

Kung, 62, spoke from personal experience when he pushed for the need to clean up the industry.

Two to three years ago, he found a handbag "full of money" after taking an Australian couple to a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, he said. He went back to the hotel, but a manager said the couple had gone to a police station.

He contacted them through the hotel and returned the bag.

"I actually struggled a bit before I decided to return it," Kung admitted. "But I found medicines treating heart disease in the bag. I was worried if the lady would have a heart attack upon discovering her loss. After returning the bag, I felt my heart at peace."

This time round, he was awarded for returning a purse, which contained about HK$1,000, to a passenger in 2011. He did not discover the item until some time after he had driven away, and yet he contacted the person through details found in the purse.

Chan, 48, was recognised for returning a camera. He said he picked up five or six lost items every year, and would remind alighting passengers to check if they had everything with them.

Taxi drivers have been in the news for reportedly overcharging tourists and failing to return lost belongings. Kung and Chan took the chance to urge the police to put in more effort in tackling dishonest cabbies.

Chan suggested imposing stiffer penalties, such as revoking their licences or jailing them.