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September 30, 2010

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Home » Metro » Public Services

'Cloned' cabs razed in fresh crackdown

THE city continued its crackdown on illegal taxi operators yesterday by destroying 26 "cloned" cabs.

Local taxi watchdog seized 1,070 cars used in the illegal operation from January to September.

Among them were 213 cloned vehicles, which are basically retired regular cabs bought from underground markets.

Cai Jingyan, the deputy chief with city traffic law enforcement team, said the confiscated cars have been kept by the team for more than half a year.

The illegal operators are usually fined up to 50,000 yuan (US$7,472) to get their confiscated car back.

However, many offenders just abandon the vehicles as the fines are higher than the cost to buy new cloned cars.

"The fine is not enough of a deterrent for them to enter the illegal business again," Cai conceded.

Drivers do not need to pay a lot for refitting the car with cab devices.

Among the 213 confiscated cars, only eight car owners turned up to pay the fine this year, said officials, adding that usually only 10 percent of offenders show up to pay the penalty.

On the other hand, the cost for authorities in keeping and storing the cars is high.

The illegal drivers, who usually hoodwink passengers, like by taking detours, damage the city's image, officials said. It is estimated there are up to 6,000 illegal cabs in operation on city streets.

From late July the city's taxi industry association has been offering 500 yuan as reward for tips on illegal taxis by calling 6535-3930.


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