Cloned cabs targeted by law enforcement officers

One driver is facing not just a 50,000 yuan (US$7,550) fine and confiscation of his car, but a 15-day detention and cancellation of his driver's license.

Shanghai Transportation Commission’s law enforcement department clamped down hard on “cloned cabs” and overcharging as the continuation of its Removing the Thorn operation.

Cloned cabs refer to cars disguised as normal taxis and where the driver has a fake license or no license at all.

After being alerted that cloned cabs were seen around Hongqiao Tiandi, a squad of law enforcement officers checked out the reports on November 15. 

A cab said to be from the firm Falanhong was stopped for inspection. Officers found that the taxi was equipped with a taximeter and a taxi service card with the driver’s photo on it, but the driver could not provide his license to drive the vehicle.

The driver surnamed Yu confessed that he bought a scrapped taxi for 12,000 yuan (US$1,800). Further investigation suggested Yu had been fined twice for the same violation, his last cloned cab was seized by the police. This time Yu is facing not just the 50,000 yuan fine and confiscation of the car, but a 15-day detention and cancellation of his driver’s license.

A similar case was solved earlier this month. A taxi was asked to pull over. “The driver obviously had a guilty conscience. He confessed before I opened my mouth,” said the officer at the scene. Officers found the vehicle identification number had been deliberately erased by the driver. According to the car plate, the taxi belonged to a taxi firm named Jinqiu.

The driver, surnamed Diao, admitted he had been caught for the same crime in April and July. 

“There are regulations saying taxi firms must weed out cars used after a certain length of time, usually eight years. Some drivers illegally purchased those scrapped cars and disguised them as normal taxis,” said an officer from the department.

An official said one way to spot a cloned cab is whether a public transport card can be used to pay for it.

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