• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 10:41am
NewsHong Kong

Fare row cabbie arrested after allegedly dumping passengers' valuables in nullah at Tin Shui Wai

Police divers carry out search after passengers' bags of valuables are allegedly ditched in nullah

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 August, 2013, 6:38am

Police frogmen searched a nullah for sunken "treasure" yesterday after a dispute over a taxi fare allegedly caused a cabbie to go off the deep end.

The 34-year-old driver picked up two passengers at Chek Lap Kok airport shortly after 2am on Tuesday for the 40-kilometre journey to the Lok Ma Chau border crossing.

The passengers were laden with HK$60,000 of cameras and wine, which they put in the boot. But when they arrived at their destination, they asked to pay the HK$290 fare in yuan.

Police said the angry driver insisted on a one-to-one exchange rate, but his passengers, one of whom was from the mainland, disagreed.

So the cabbie allegedly then drove off without the money, but with their bags still in the boot.

Border district police chief inspector Tony Chan Chi-ho said the driver dumped the bags into the nullah near his home at Tin Heng Estate in Tin Shui Wai. He was arrested on suspicion of theft on Thursday and, according to Chan, said he did not intend to steal anything and had not even opened the bags. He was later released on bail.

A search for the luggage was launched in the drainage channel, but by last night it had proved fruitless. It was not clear if it would resume today.

One of the passengers, who lives in Shenzhen, said in a television interview yesterday that he had been left "very frightened and angry" by the incident.

"I thought Hong Kong was safer than the mainland. I never thought this kind of thing would happen in Hong Kong," he said, adding that he was so distraught he could not sleep for two nights. "I told the driver that even if he accepted 90 yuan (HK$113) to HK$100, he would still be in profit."

He said he would be more careful when he took taxi again in Hong Kong and would definitely avoid putting his valuable belongings in the boot.

The police said they were concerned about the alleged theft.

They appealed to passengers to take note of taxi drivers' details and the licence plate just in case.

Meanwhile, two other cabbies were arrested on Friday for not charging fares according to the meter in a police operation.

Five drivers were also given penalty tickets for refusing hires.

In one case, a police officer posing as a passenger boarded a taxi in Central and said he wanted to go to Yau Ma Tei.

The cabbie told him it would cost HK$200 and was arrested when the taxi got to Yau Ma Tei.


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This article is now closed to comments

Of course, the fleeing taxi driver was in the wrong, but I can understand his anger at being asked to accept RMB as payment and then getting into an argument over the exchange rate when he proposed a one-to-one rate. The customers didn't have enough money in the correct currency and should have accepted his terms as they were the cause of the dispute in the first place. I suspect that they knew all along that they didn't have enough HK dollars (and perhaps the taxi driver either learned or sensed that), explaining their lack of humility to accept his reasonable terms for the trouble they were causing him. It's another niggling anecdote added to the pile of indignities we're being asked to swallow in the service of our mainland cousins.
You deserve to be kicked off the bus. Imagine if I were to offer a Japanese bus driver HKD,I would be kick off the bus.
If you attempt. to pay in a foreign currency whatever the rate in US or in Euro you will be cursed with a mouthful of obscenities before being kicked off the bus.
How naive and dumb can you get.
Sorry, I guess your monitor did not display the opening remark, which read, "Of course, the fleeing taxi driver was in the wrong...".
This is the problem with you hongkies - you do not understand sarcasm - I think the author above was trying to be funny, but unfortunately, in many cases, it takes intelligence to understand humor, and I think both tksiow and tomonday below have too low of an intelligence to understand the humor. I think you are probably too stupid to be reading an English language newspaper, please revert back to Apple Daily.
The other day I got on a NWFB and wanted to pay in JPY, I offered 15 to 1, I figured CTF would still profit from that. The bus driver kicked me off the bus. I never thought something like that would happen to me in Hong Kong. I'd have to think twice about taking NWFB again. Maybe KMB will accept Indian rupees?
Harold Cameron
Surely this problem could have been avoided if the passengers had expressed their wish to pay in RMB before the taxi left CLK.
Fake notes, fake notes! Local taxi drivers everywhere in this world have every reason to refuse accepting foreign currencies they know little to distinguish fake from the genuine.
I was in Shanghai recently and the taxi driver refused to accept Swiss francs as payment. This would not have been a problem in El Paso, Texas, where restaurants routinely accept Mexican pesos. I think Shanghai taxis should accept Swiss francs and Mexican pesos; all they need is a published currency exchange rate chart, updated daily.
But that doesn't excuse the action of the taxi driver.
Hong Kong is an international city and we pride ourselves on that. We are not talking about a cheap 3-dollar minibus trip from Mongkok to Tokwawan for God's sake. Its a trip from Cheklapkok, our international airport and Chinese Yuan is widely used in shopping malls in Causeway Bay. The taxi driver had the right not to accept yuan but he could not simply make off with the customer's belongings.


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