More Hong Kong cabbies fell foul of a police clampdown against fare overcharging during the Christmas break when throngs of tourists flocked to the city.
On Tuesday a pair of plain-clothed policemen, disguised as Putonghua-speaking Chinese visitors, hailed a taxi at the Garden Road Peak Tram Station in Central – a major transport interchange spot and a tourist hangout – and asked the cabbie to drive them up to The Peak. They arrested the driver after he charged HK$160 for the trip as the normal metered fare is around HK$60, Oriental Daily News reported.
The taxi concerned was also towed to a police station for further examination on suspicion that the meter had been tampered with.
At about 4am another pair of police constables dressed as revelers took a taxi from the Lan Kwai Fong club street in Central to a hotel in nearby Jervois Street. This driver, who charged three times the normal fare of HK$24, was also arrested.
Two more taxi drivers were also arrested during the four-day Christmas break, with one allegedly charging five times the normal metered fare.
Police urge tourists who suspect they have been overcharged or involved in some other ruse to mark down the time, location, license plate number and name of the driver shown on the identity card display on the dashboard and report their concerns.
A spokesman for Central Police Station said the force would step up its activities against taxi malpractice during the festive season.
It is an offense for a taxi driver to overcharge on fares or refuse to take a hire. Drivers convicted of such offenses can face a fine of up to HK$10,000 and up to six months in prison under Hong Kong law.