Hong Kong Taxi Council Vice-chair Ng Kwan-sing says that taxi drivers are facing stiff competition from “illegally-operated vehicles,” days after a driver was filmed threatening a couple with a metal rod in Yuen Long last week.

The video drew outrage online, with the driver later arrested by the police on suspicion of criminal intimidation and refusing to take passengers.

Ng Kwan-sing. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

On an RTHK programme on Monday, Ng admitted that there were problems with frontline drivers, and that individual taxi drivers should be reprimanded for being impolite. However, he also said the government should sit down with the industry and look at what the underlying causes were.

Ng said that the taxi industry has, in recent years, introduced different vehicle types and a variety of services, and questioned whether the government had implemented policies to provide them with assistance.

He added that the taxi council was set up last May and has organised career training, as well as arranged for “politeness ambassadors” at a number of locations across the city.

“Could it be that front line drivers are facing competition from a range of illegally-operated vehicles, such as those from unregistered international car hire apps, or airport light trucks that take passengers for pay… and regular drivers are experiencing a lot of frustration at work?”

Ng also questioned whether the government had been too lax in enforcing the law, thereby making business difficult for taxi drivers who are law-abiding.

Members of the public phoned in during the programme and shared stories involving impolite taxi drivers. One said that she was taking a cab from Central to Wan Chai with her mother – who had mobility problems – and the driver threw their change on the backseat.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.