The story appears on

Page A2

October 27, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro

'Black cab' squad used entrapment

PUDONG New Area government officials admitted yesterday that traffic authorities used entrapment to charge a company driver with operating an illegal cab, and they apologized to the public for investigative misconduct.

The government intends to call the people responsible for the behavior "to account," Pudong Director Jiang Liang said, without elaborating.

"An apology is not enough. One must pay the price if one makes mistakes," Jiang said. "The government cannot ensure that it never makes mistakes, but it must ensure that it is honest."

He said the conclusions of an earlier investigation carried out by Pudong urban management authorities were untrue and had misled the public.

After receiving a more comprehensive investigative report from Pudong government, and the results of a probe in Minhang District into a similar case, the city government emphasized yesterday that improper measures to collect evidence are strictly prohibited in the ongoing crackdown on illegal cabs.

"An examination of how traffic authorities implement the law will be launched to eliminate improper acts," the city said in a statement.

The victims in these cases, along with other critics, say that some traffic enforcement agencies are using bounty hunters to fabricate evidence against motorists who are simply acting as good Samaritans by picking up people in need of a lift. The agencies benefit by collecting huge fines.

Sun Zhongjie, the 19-year-old driver who severed one of his little fingers in a fit of anger over what he said were false charges, burst into tears when the conclusion of the new investigation was announced yesterday.

"I am pleased with the investigation report," he said. "It's fair."

Officials at Pudong's urban management department apologized to Sun yesterday morning. They promised to return his vehicle today, and his original fine was rescinded.

The amount of compensation would be fixed after discussions with Sun.

Sun's lawyer, Hao Jinsong, demanded that the Pudong transport supervision team apologize through the media in Shanghai and Henan, Sun's home province, as well as in the national media, according to Xinhua news agency.

Sun, employed by Shanghai Pangyuan Construction Machinery Engineering Co Ltd, said he picked up a stranger who claimed to be cold and pleaded for a ride on October 14.

When the passenger left Sun's minibus, Sun said he tossed some money inside, and the vehicle was immediately surrounded by traffic enforcement agents.

The minibus was confiscated, and Sun said he was forced to sign a statement saying he was operating an illegal cab or he would not be allowed to go free. He was also told the minibus would not be released until he or his company paid a 10,000 yuan (US$1,464) fine.

After Sun's lawyer threatened legal action, the city government ordered Pudong to get to the bottom of the charges. But last Tuesday, Pudong's urban management quickly cleared transport supervisors of any wrongdoing.

An investigative team consisting of lawmakers, lawyers and media representatives was then set up. The 12-member team issued a report that found fault with the traffic law enforcement methods.

"The 'passenger' lied to us," said Guo Xiang, who was on the team and is also a member of the city's top political advisory body. "He is a veteran bounty hunter."

When investigators examined the records of the traffic enforcement unit, they found that the passenger, Chen Xiongjie, had acted as a witness for the unit before.

According to the investigation, a traffic officer had informed Chen of the time and place that crackdown would take place.

Those found responsible for "unjust determinations" in the earlier flawed investigation will be punished, the city government said yesterday.

The city will set up a special task force led by a deputy mayor to study transport operations and standardize law enforcement activities.

Sun's attorney, who is also representing the Minhang motorist involved in a similar case, said in his blog, "This is only the tip of the iceberg."

"Entrapment is now an industry, and the fines have distorted law enforcement."

Hao said he has received many letters and phone calls from drivers nationwide who claimed they were entrapped.

"The entrapment-style of law enforcement has no legitimate aim and contravenes legal proceedings," Shanghai lawyer Wang Minghong told Xinhua news agency. "It is an illegal administrative behavior and a misuse of power."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend