‘Exquisite’ Chinese cab driver caught wearing face mask on the job

  • Pictures of image-conscious driver go down a storm on social media
  • Police fail to see the funny side, prompting cab firm to suspend him from duty
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 2:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 8:33pm

An image-conscious taxi driver in eastern China has been suspended from duty for wearing a facial mask during his shift.

Chen Yiqun decided to freshen up during a quiet night shift in Linhai, a city in Zhejiang province, on Friday, according to the Qianjiang Evening News.

He decided to drive into the city to refuel while wearing the mask, but he was spotted by a young woman who posted his picture online, according to the report published on Tuesday.

The photo soon went viral, and Chen was surprised to find his social media feed flooded with photos of himself.

“What an exquisite taxi driver,” wrote one social media user. “Girls everywhere take note, you have to take care of your skin no matter how busy you are,” wrote another.

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Local traffic police were not amused, however, and soon tracked down the 25-year-old.

Chen was given a “stern lecture” by the police on Monday and as a result was immediately suspended for three days by his employer, the newspaper said.

Police said the masks could fall off and obscure the driver’s vision, and claimed that using skincare products could pose a danger to other drivers.

While there is no law against using facial masks while driving, other drivers caught by police have been given “advice and education” in the past.

In January one woman was caught wearing a seaweed face mask at a roadblock set up to catch drunk drivers, Guangzhou Daily reported.

Chen told the Qianjiang Evening News that he could spend up to 30,000 yuan (US$4,300) on skincare products in one spree, and even helped his wife choose the products she used.

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Chen is among a growing group of men contributing to a boom for the male beauty industry, forecast to be worth up to US$3 billion by 2022, according to Tmall Innovation Centre and L’Oréal China Consumer Intelligence.

Although some traditionalists scoff at the rise of “sissy men”, spending on male cosmetics in China is expected to grow by 13.5 per cent next year, according to Euro Monitor, well above the global average of 5.8 per cent.

Chinese women may also be driving demand, according to University of Hong Kong research, which indicates changing opinions about masculinity are pushing men to pay more attention to their appearance.