Date
19 November 2017
Hong Kong taxis offer safe and convenient transport, but watch out for a few unscrupulous cabbies. Photo: discoverhongkong.com, internet
Hong Kong taxis offer safe and convenient transport, but watch out for a few unscrupulous cabbies. Photo: discoverhongkong.com, internet

Foreigners fall prey to new taxi scam

A new taxi scam targeting foreigners have been reported recently, with the majority of victims being pub-goers in Lan Kwai Fong in Central and Wan Chai.

This is how the trick works: A foreigner hops into a taxi with its rear windows lowered by a few inches. The taxi arrives at the destination, the passenger pays and gets off, then the window breaks when the car door is shut. The furious driver jumps off the car, accusing the passenger of slamming the door too hard, and asks for compensation.

Under such circumstances, the passenger, having downed a few pints, is led to believe that the broken window was their fault, Sing Tao Daily reported on Thursday. They cough up as much as HK$2,000 (US$258) for the damage.

These drivers are actually taking advantage of a design loophole between the window glass and the door joint often found in most Hong Kong taxis. When the window is lowered by a few inches, it could hit against the door joint when the door is shut.

A few similar cases have been reported to the police. In one instance, even when police arrived at the scene, the passenger had to pay for the damage as there were no witnesses.

A police officer said in situations like these, the best they can do is to help mediate between the two parties and prevent any untoward incident.

Kwan Yuk-wah, chairman of the Urban Taxi Drivers Association Joint Committee, said the normal charge for repairing a damaged window is HK$300 and it takes only about 30 minutes. Usually taxi drivers would remind passengers not to slam the door if the window is lowered, he added.

Kwan admitted that there could be drivers who set up scams to target inebriated passengers, the report said.

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