HONG KONG – Police have hit a racket that saw taxi drivers ripping off tourists leaving Tsim Sha Tsui for the airport.
Three taxi drivers have been arrested during an undercover operation for “grossly overcharging” passengers, said Chief Inspector Yu Hoi-kwan.
There also appeared to have been tampering with meters in the taxis that the three were driving.
The operation, on Monday, saw local and overseas- recruited police officers posing as tourists and taking taxis from the Kimberley Hotel.
Two drivers allegedly pressed buttons during journeys from Kimberley Road. That caused fares showing around HK$200 to leap to more than HK$300.
Another driver allegedly took a roundabout route, going via Hung Hom Station to the airport.
Police claim the three were overcharged by at least HK$50 and up to HK$100 for a single journey.
The action followed officers being told that some taxi drivers who waited outside a hotel on Kimberley Road were overcharging passengers.
Yu said the three arrested drivers had communicated with each other at times amid indications that someone was also working behind the scenes. “Throughout the operation we observed that these taxi drivers had communications with each other,” she said. Officers were now investigating the possibility that a syndicate was involved in organizing the drivers.
Yu also said the scam involved drivers waiting at a taxi stand until they saw a tourist leaving the hotel with luggage. Then they would move forward and assist
people in stowing luggage in the boots of the taxis.
The three taxis involved were seized and are being taken to the Transport Department’s vehicle examination center for checks.
Anyone convicted of overcharging for a taxi ride faces up to six months in prison and fines to HK$10,000.