Taxi driver pleads guilty to stealing luxury watch and Gucci sandals

Sharp-eyed former PLA soldier spotted cabbie taking items worth HK$160,000

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 October, 2013, 5:08pm

A taxi driver with a record of overcharging passengers found new prey when he picked up a mainland couple with Gucci and Lane Crawford shopping bags on Canton Road.

Hon So-man, 50, had his eye on a Patek Philippe watch and a pair of Gucci baby sandals, together worth more than HK$160,000, when Qian Ziyang and Wang Fang put the bags into his boot.

But little did he know that he was being watched by Qian, a former People's Liberation Army soldier, who thought the taxi driver was acting suspiciously. He jotted down his vehicle's licence plate number and later called the police.

Hon pleaded guilty to one count of theft yesterday.

Kowloon City Court heard that Hon picked up the couple, who were carrying four shopping bags, in Tsim Sha Tsui on July 3. All the bags were sealed except a Gucci bag holding the watch and sandals.

The couple became suspicious when Hon lingered near the boot for about 20 seconds after they got into the cab.

When the cab arrived at Langham Place in Mong Kok, Hon retrieved the four bags from the boot, quickly handed them to the couple and drove away. But the bags were torn and the watch and sandals were missing.

Hon will be sentenced on October 21, pending probation officer and community service order reports. In September last year, the driver was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service for cheating a police officer, who was posing as a Putonghua-speaking visitor, out of HK$500.

Outside court, the couple, from Suzhou , said they would continue to visit Hong Kong despite the unpleasant experience. "There are bad guys everywhere in the world," Wang said.

Lai Hoi-ping, of the Hong Kong Taxi Association, said there was always a "flock of black sheep" in the industry. "More solo travellers have visited Hong Kong in recent years, and some greedy drivers target them to make quick money," he said.