Police have arrested two taxi drivers for allegedly overcharging passengers. The move came following complaints of drivers overcharging, touting and refusing to carry passengers.

According to Apple Daily, police carried out a series of undercover operations posing as tourists at the beginning of the month. Action against cab drivers who flout the law will continue, said the police.

central cab ferry
Photo: Wikimedia.

The paper reported that the police’s traffic division received 469 complaints about taxis, with the vast majority of them concerning cabs operating in the Lan Kwai Fong area.

On Sunday morning, police arrested two suspects—a 34-year-old and a 49-year-old—for overcharging in Lan Kwai Fong. The two were later released on bail.

According to the paper, the police had arrested 17 people and issued nearly 900 summonses for taxi-related offences.

lkf party club
Hong Kong Island Police took action after receiving a large number of complaints concerning taxi drivers either refusing service or overcharging in the Lan Kwai Fong area. Photo: Wikimedia

Licensed taxi drivers are facing increasing competition from unlicensed cab drivers and taxi-hailing apps such as Uber. Last month a group of taxi drivers urged the government to do more to regulate the industry.

Last month, reporters from Ming Pao posing as passengers who wanted to go to Hong Kong Island said they were refused by two taxi drivers in Tsim Sha Tsui, adding that 30 other passengers were also refused because the drivers said they were not crossing the harbour.

The reporters also spoke to people who paid more than HK$100 fares for short journeys. One said she was once charged HK$250 for a trip from Central to Mong Kok at 11pm, which normally costs less than HK$100.

According to Ming Pao, Transport Authorities received 10,060 complaints concerning taxis in 2014, an 8.1 percent increase from the previous year. A quarter of those complaints from 2014 concerned refusal to take passengers, which was a 10.8 percent increase from the previous year.

Overcharging for a taxi can carry a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a HK$10,000 fine.

Vicky Wong

Vicky Wong

Vicky is a British-born Chinese journalist with three years of experience covering UK politics. She previously worked for PoliticsHome and has interned at Sky News and CNN International. She also co-produced and filmed a documentary about the Hong Kong protests for MSNBC, which won the grand student prize at the 2015 Human Rights Press Awards. She has a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading and moved to Hong Kong in 2014 to complete a journalism masters at the University of Hong Kong.