For many Hong Kong residents, riding a taxi is a sort of a gamble.
If you’re lucky, you encounter a polite and efficient cabbie who drives you to your destination fast and without any hassle.
But on bad days, when you’re running late to an important appointment, you meet a taxi driver who wants to have it their way, and you feel you would have been better off if you took a bus or the MTR.
Often, you just accept the situation or take another transportation.
But not Faisal Mohammed, a Hongkonger who stood his ground in the face of a cabbie who refused to take him across the harbor.
On his Facebook page Mohammed posted a letter from the Hong Kong police showing that he won a case he filed against the taxi driver.
Not only was the driver penalized for refusing to take a passenger, he was also fined for smoking inside his taxi.
According to HK Magazine, the incident happened on Sept. 19 last year.
Mohammed, who speaks fluent Cantonese, hailed a taxi in Tsim Sha Tsui and told the driver his destination on Hong Kong Island in Chinese.
The driver refused, although Mohammed was already in the car.
This is illegal so Mohammed called the police.
Not to be outdone, the driver also called the police, complaining that a passenger refused to leave his vehicle.
While waiting for the police, the driver lit up a cigarette and started to smoke inside the vehicle.
The case reached the court, and the magistrate ruled in Mohammed’s favor.
The taxi driver was convicted and fined HK$1,500 for refusing hire and an additional HK$1,500 for smoking while carrying passengers.
Mohammed is glad for having stood up for what is right, and having been vindicated.
But “the whole process is quite lengthy and painful”, he told HK Magazine.
Still, Mohammed urges other people who face a similar situation to report to the police.
“If tomorrow, everyone in Lan Kwai Fong calls the cops for each incident, I’m sure the cops will also get irritated and do their job.”
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