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July 28, 2010

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Police target three-wheelers in raid

DRIVERS of three-wheeled scooters who operate as "black" cabs drove their vehicles into a muddy creek near Metro Line 3's Changjiang Road S. Station to avoid a police raid on Monday.

Authorities said yesterday that the raid was part of a larger crackdown on three-wheeled scooters illegally operating as cabs at subway and bus stations.

Police retrieved over a dozen vehicles from the creek as they feared the operators would return to pull them out and restart their illegal business.

Yang Min, an officer with the Baoshan traffic police, said they would continue such raids in the area as the illegal business has triggered alarming safety hazards.

People need to pay a fine of 5,000 yuan (US$738) if they want their three-wheelers back.

However, not many owners are expected to claim the vehicles since it only costs 1,000 yuan to get another one, Yang said.

Yang told Shanghai Daily that people are willing to take the risk of riding on a three-wheeler because they are convenient and there are few bus routes in the area around Changjiang Road S. Station.

"It only costs 3 yuan to 5 yuan to take a three-wheeler," Yang said. "Plus, they take you right to your neighborhood."

The three-wheelers are also operating downtown.

Outside Metro Line 2's Nanjing Road E. Station, a large number of three-wheelers gather since it's hard to call a taxi around the area and drivers are usually unwilling to take passengers for short trips.

After 10pm, fewer buses are available, making the three-wheelers a popular choice.

Meanwhile, police are also working to crack down on "cloned taxis," which look the same as licensed cabs, at railway stations, airports, scenic spots and World Expo entrances.

A driver, surnamed Wang, who was stopped by police near the Wujiaochang area on Monday night for driving a cloned taxi, said he bought a set of taxi equipment online for 2,600 yuan two months ago.

Individuals will be fined up to 50,000 yuan for operating a cloned taxi, police said.


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