2008-03-06 18:45:57 Xinhua English
BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Police in China's biggest commercial hub have detained eight members of a taxi gang for allegedly ripping off foreign passengers.
A total of 10 suspects were accused of blackmailing 13 passengers in less than two months and stealing 50,000 yuan (about 7,022 U.S. dollars) in cash or goods, the traffic law-enforcement team under the Shanghai Municipal Communication Bureau has said.
Zhan Jian, an official with the team, was quoted by the English-language China Daily as saying that the taxi drivers were suspected of charging passengers extremely high prices and robbing them when they refused to pay.
"They worked right off Longyang Road Maglev train station and targeted expatriates who arrive at Pudong International Airport and get off the station after the train ride," he said.
The current Maglev line runs from Longyang Road to Pudong International Airport.
Zhan said many complaints had been made since 2006 by passengers who had been duped after taking a taxi from that location. At the end of last year, a passenger was coerced into paying as much as 1,000 U.S. dollars for a ride that should have cost about 50 yuan, according to the report.
Tracing several clues, the team launched an investigation in the middle of January.
They have since found that some taxi drivers are cheating by issuing fake invoices, applying tricks on meters and threatening to use force when passengers refuse to pay.
Zhan said that the eight men being detained at Pudong district department of Shanghai municipal public security Bureau would most probably face prosecution.
"We encourage appealing on taxi-drivers ripping off," he said. The hotline is 65466671.