Notorious Cabbie Finally Gets Caught With His Pants Down

Daily News - Saigon/HCMC: yesterday

In what could possibly be a contender for Public Temper Tantrum of the Year, a notorious unlicensed cabbie in Ho Chi Minh City has finally been busted, and slapped with a VND8.85 million (US$390) fine, but not before putting on a scene in public, which involved a terrifying stripping act and a rusty paper cutter.

The driver, Tran Dinh Phuc, 40, from the south-central province of Binh Dinh, identified as ‘Teo’ in an earlier exposé by Tuoi Tre, had been overcharging passengers in front of the Oncology Hospital in Binh Thanh District.

cabbie

He claimed that his taxi, which sported the license plate 51A-383-35 and carried a fake name, “Vantaitaxi”, charges an hourly rate of VND950,000 (US$48). The vehicle advertised a hotline number and a logo, which nearly mimicked an existing taxi company.

The Incident

On Monday morning, Phuc ferried a passenger from the hospital to Truong Son Street in Tan Binh District and charged the client VND700,000 (US$30.79). He then lowered the price to VND500,000 (US$21.90) when he saw two traffic inspectors approaching the vehicle.

The same trip would have cost approximately VND90,000 (US$3.96) on a regular metered taxi.

When the traffic inspectors attempted to charge Phuc for parking his car in a no-parking area and demanded that he present some documents, Phuc allegedly removed his shirt, pulled out a rusty paper cutter and pointed it at one of the inspectors, repeatedly swearing at him and demanding his papers back.

cabbie

According to reports, he then proceeded to take off his trousers and chase the officer around the sidewalk, forcing him to hand back his documents.

Phuc stopped his shenanigans when officers from the Tan Binh District police department arrived on the scene and he was promptly escorted to the police station, with the paper cutter and a baton seized for investigations. An administrative penalty was also imposed on him.

He was then found to have been operating as a transport service without a permit, and had his car registration and driver’s license confiscated. The police also suggested that the People’s Committee issue him a further VND2.5 million (US$110) fine for obstruction and threatening and insulting law enforcers.

The Background

Earlier in August, when Tuoi Tre journalists followed Phuc, a passenger boarded his cab from the hospital towards Mien Dong (Eastern) Bus Station in Binh Thanh District. The 5.1 kilometre trip cost her VND905,000 (US$40).

After the passenger claimed she did not have enough money, Phuc decided to lower the fare by VND200,000 (US$9), threatening to call the police if she did not pay.

“An hour in this cab costs VND1.5 million (US$67). You should pay your fare as the operators of our taxi company are aggressive people,” he claimed.

cabbie

After the passenger threatened to call the hotline printed on his vehicle to report the issue, the driver eventually revealed that the number was fake and drove away when a security officer from the bus station intervened.

According to the Duong Tien Thu, director of the transport cooperative that owns the hotline number found on the taxi, many passengers have been contacting them to complain about the same problem.

Thu also confirmed that Phuc did not work for the cooperative and is, in fact, an unlicensed taxi driver.

Sterner Punishment

The transport department inspectorate has announced that it will launch extensive inspections in public areas, including hospitals, shopping malls, markets, schools and bus stations to prevent unlicensed taxi services from scamming locals and tourists.

Stern punishments will be imposed on violators and those who refuse to cooperate with police officers.

cabbie

The municipal transport department has two hotlines that residents can reach, should they encounter unlicensed cab drivers: 023 8300 701 and 0913 880 906.

Image source: tuoitre.vn

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