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January 10, 2013

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Police getting tougher with illegal taxis

TRAFFIC enforcement officials said they are combing residential areas in an attempt to find illegal taxis that might be hidden by their drivers during the crackdown on so-called "cloned" taxis.

Officials said they hope to take illegal cab operators by surprise.

Zhang Xuebing, city vice mayor and the director of the police department, said that officials "should not be soft on the illegal operations."

"Fining them is easy but has a weak deterrent effect," said Zhang.

The city said that 1,739 cars and SUVs involved in illegal operations were seized last year, among them 522 cloned taxis that look like the real thing. The traffic and police departments also detained more than 3,900 illegal operators.

However, none of the operators of the 1,400-plus cloned taxis seized from 2010 to 2012 would pay the fine of 50,000 yuan in order to get their vehicle back, officials said. Instead, they would rather to buy another retired taxi and start working again.

Surveillance cameras and law enforcement teams will be added for the campaigns at busy traffic hubs, business areas and suburban communities.

When organized crime is involved, illegal operators have become violent, Zhang said.

On December 10, six men carrying clubs and tubes attacked police officers during routine illegal operation checks close to Line 9's Yishan Road Station. The officers called for backup and the suspects were detained.


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