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A taxi driver in China went to the police after a frightening encounter with a man who demanded he run red lights in exchange for extra money. Photo: SCMP artwork

‘Rich and wilful’ mystery man, irritated after family dispute, pays Chinese cabby US$5,700 to jump red lights and ‘leave scene quickly’

  • Mystery man hails cab then starts transferring large sums via QR code to driver and demanding he drive through red lights
  • When the driver refused the man became agitated and violent before fleeing as the cabby pulled up next to another taxi and sought help

A frightened taxi driver in China was paid 30,000 yuan (US$4,400) and ordered to drive through red traffic lights by a passenger who later explained that each 10,000 yuan was for one red light.

The driver, surnamed Chai, from Puyang city in Henan province, central China, picked up the 30-something-year-old male passenger last Wednesday.

The man paid Chai 9,000 yuan (US$1,300) as soon as he got in the car and told him to “leave the scene quickly”.

When the cab approached the first intersection after taking on the passenger, the man demanded the driver go through a red light in exchange for more money. Photo: Handout

“Soon after he got in the taxi, he transferred 9,000 yuan to me via QR code and asked me to ‘leave the scene quickly’,” Chai told Henan Broadcasting Network.

The passenger later made three more separate 10,000-yuan payments during the four-kilometre ride.

He also told Chai he wanted to go to the city of Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, northern China, which is about 322km away from Puyang city.

As they approached the first intersection displaying a red light the man asked Chai to just drive through. When Chai tried to explain he was not prepared to break the road rules, the man said he would pay him 10,000 yuan for jumping one red light.

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“I will give you 10,000 yuan for every red light you drive through,” the man told Chai.

Within three minutes, Chai had received 30,000 yuan and realised this was to drive through three red lights which he refused.

The man showed Chai his Alipay balance of more than 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million). Chai said he found the man intimidating and gave him his QR code out of fear.

Although Chai was afraid, he refused to follow the man’s demands to break the law and decided to call the police. At this point, the man became very emotional and banged on the fare metre and glass partition between the driver and passengers.

The driver was later told by police that the man had been in a fight with his family just before getting into the taxi. Photo: Handout

After driving for four kilometres Chai pulled up next to another taxi and requested help from the driver. At this point, the passenger got out of the taxi and fled on foot.

Chai reported the incident to local police and said he wished to return the 39,000 yuan to the man as he did not believe he had earned it.

After police investigated, Chai learned that the man had been in a fight with his family just before getting into the taxi. He said he asked Chai to break the traffic rules because he was in an agitated state and had lost his temper.

News of the incident attracted widespread discussion on mainland Chinese social media.

One person commented: “This man is rich and wilful”.

Another said: “I haven’t heard of such an unreasonable demand, but I agree with the taxi driver, he didn’t earn that money.”