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May 18, 2011

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Better facilities for bored airport cabbies

AIRPORT authorities are to improve entertainment facilities for bored cabbies following complaints they have turned an area by the taxi pool at Pudong International Airport into an unhygienic "gambling den."

Officials said they will canvass cabbies on what facilities they would like while they wait for passengers.

This follows complaints by passers-by that cabbies gathered late at night to play poker in a meadow behind the pool, creating noise and a mess.

Airport police told Shanghai Daily that they paid a surprise visit to the meadow and discovered three groups of drivers playing poker.

On one group's makeshift table, 90 yuan (US$14) was discovered. Under Chinese law, the amount of the stake could not lead to the players facing gambling accusations, police said.

Officers questioned the poker players before releasing them.

"We prohibit any kind of gambling inside the cabbies' canteen," Tian Lu, an official with Shanghai Airport Authority, said yesterday.

"And we have told them to stop playing outdoors due to complaints."

Waiting cabbies can buy boxed meals from their canteen at the airport, take a shower and watch DVDs. However, the DVDs are selected by airport management.

"We will offer more entertainment options to drivers after studying their requests," Tian added.

Authorities will also advise drivers to stop urinating outdoors and discarding meal leftovers, which were other witness complaints.


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