City to crack down on 'cloned cabs'

The law enforcement department of Shanghai's transportation commission is aiming to crack down on 'cloned cabs.'

The city’s traffic police launched a campaign this month targeting “cloned cabs,” or cars disguised as taxis with drivers holding a fake or, in some cases, no licenses at all.

The campaign will last until May next year.

“The illegal taxis are well disguised. Because their plates or licenses are also fake, it is difficult to track them down,” said Chen Xiaochen, an official from the transportation commission’s law enforcement department.

“But no one should try their luck with the law.”

In a recent case, the traffic police arrested a driver of a cloned car after more than a month of investigation.

On October 25, the suspect surnamed Li, driving a “taxi” with a car plate number FW6609, picked up an elderly couple at the crossroads of Zhaojiabang and Wuxing roads and headed to Hongqiao International Airport.

On reaching the airport, the couple headed to the back of the car to remove their luggage. No sooner they were done, Li drove off with their briefcase, which was in the front seat.

On investigation, police found that the vehicle did not belong to any taxi company. The surveillance videos confirmed that Li was driving a cloned taxi.

The officers traced Li to Jiading District. They narrowed down Li’s activity to a neighbourhood around Jiayuguan Road.

Li was caught on December 5 and the cloned taxi recovered from an underground parking spot nearby.

The fake taxi was painted in Dazhong’s green color. The plate was from a scrapped taxi that belonged to Lanse Lianmeng (Blue Union).

Li’s driving license was revoked and faces a fine of 5,000 yuan (US$755). He is also likely to get a 10-day detention.

Authorities said between January and November this year, they had busted 767 cloned cabs.

They are advising passengers to keep the taxi receipts and report any form of illegal taxi activity to 12345. Foreigners can also call the number as the hotline has English speakers.

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