7th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) The issue of taxi drivers “overcharging” passengers has long been a cause for concern in Hong Kong, but what happens when the passenger is a seasoned expert on taxi fares? A passenger claiming to be a taxi driver recently posted a series of videos online, urging netizens to “judge for themselves.” The videos show the passenger taking a taxi from Tsim Sha Tsui’s Observatory Road to Wong Chuk Hang and then to Shau Kei Wan. When they arrived at their destination, the meter showed HK$184.5, but the driver demanded HK$350. The passenger eventually paid HK$300, but the driver refused to take them to their final destination and instead stopped the car and started arguing with the passenger, using profanity. The passenger responded by saying, “I’m also a taxi driver. You’re the second one to overcharge me. I’ve given you more money, but you’re still not satisfied. You’re here to bully me? That’s fine. I have plenty of time.”
After watching the video, many netizens criticised the driver’s behavior and supported the passenger’s actions, with comments like “You did the right thing. Take him to court!” and “There are too many drivers like him. We must expose them and not let them damage the image of Hong Kong’s taxi drivers!” Some netizens also called for more evidence to be provided to ensure fairness for both parties, saying, “If possible, please provide more substantive evidence of what happened!”
The passenger, who claims to be a taxi driver himself, uploaded the videos to the Facebook group. The two parties argued until they arrived at the Shau Kei Wan Police Station, where the driver stopped the car and began using profanity.
In the video, the passenger can be heard saying, “The meter shows HK$185. I gave you an extra HK$100, so what’s the problem?” After paying the fare, the driver asked the passenger to get out of the car, but the passenger refused, saying, “We haven’t arrived at our destination yet. You’re trying to cheat me? I’m also a taxi driver. I’m not refusing to pay you, but you shouldn’t overcharge me. You can take three minutes, and it’ll be fine.” The driver ignored the passenger’s request and stopped the car on the side of the road and opened the door. The passenger responded by saying, “I can sit here and wait. Are you trying to bully me? I’m not a fool. Even a fool wouldn’t let you cheat them!”
In the second video, the passenger and driver are seen arriving at the Shau Kei Wan Police Station. The driver appears to be pacing back and forth outside the station while the passenger says, “You can play your games if you want. I have a taxi licence too. Look at your taxi licence and mine. Who has more experience?” The passenger also said, “I’ve given you more money, but you’re still not satisfied. You’re here to bully me.”
The incident has sparked a heated discussion online, with many netizens condemning the driver’s behavior and calling for more action to be taken against dishonest taxi drivers. However, some netizens have also called for more evidence to be provided to ensure fairness for both parties.
According to the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, drivers are not allowed to charge passengers more than the statutory fare. Offenders can be fined up to HK$10,000 and sentenced to up to six months in prison.