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October 27, 2009

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Minhang admits to impropriety

MINHANG District government said yesterday it will return the 10,000 yuan (US$1,464) fine it collected from a white-collar worker charged with operating an illegal taxi.

The defendant, Zhang Hui, claimed authorities entrapped him, saying he was simply being a good Samaritan in giving a sick person a lift, and filed court action to clear his name.

In yesterday's statement, the district admitted that transportation supervisors acted improperly in their crackdown on black cabs.

"The inappropriate methods caused problems in judging the facts," the statement said, without further details.

Those who are found responsible for "unjust determinations" will be punished, the city government said yesterday.

The municipal government also agreed to set up a special task force led by a deputy mayor to study transportation operations and standardize law enforcement activities.

The conflict occurred on September 8 when Zhang picked up a hitchhiker who claimed to have stomach pain and pleaded for a ride.

Zhang agreed, but after traveling a short distance his rider turned off his ignition and grabbed his keys.

Zhang said he was then dragged out of his car by men hiding nearby, had his driving license and vehicle confiscated and was handed a penalty notice for operating an illegal taxi service.

Zhang said that he was forced to pay the fine to gain his freedom and get his car back.

Zhang sued Minhang District Traffic Law Enforcement Team on October 9 and asked for the cancellation of the fine. He said he was not an illegal cabbie and had a stable, high-paying job.

In this case, Zhang said he just wanted to help a person seemingly in distress. He said he should be commended for his efforts, not prosecuted.


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