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April 23, 2014

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Illegal taxi drivers face losing cars

THE operators of unlicensed taxis face having their vehicles permanently confiscated under a new regulation being discussed by the Shanghai People’s Congress.

In a bid to crack down on the illegal trade, the ruling will give police the power to seize “cloned taxis” — vehicles that look identical to genuine cabs but operate on falsified papers — as soon as they are identified.

It will not be necessary for officers to prove the vehicle was engaged in an illegal activity at the time.

In the case of “black cabs” — private cars used as taxis but without the disguise — police will confiscate vehicles only in the event of a repeat offense.

Under existing rules, drivers found guilty of operating an illegal taxi are given a fine or have points deducted from their license. While their vehicles can be impounded temporarily, they can also be reclaimed once the fine has been paid.

The power to permanently confiscate vehicles is already available to police in Beijing, Guizhou, Kunming and Chengdu.

The changes to the regulation will also give traffic police the authority to sell off the 1,000 or so vehicles they currently have impounded.

In the future, any vehicle that is seized will be held for 60 days before being auctioned off.

The new rules will also give officials the power to suspend the licenses — for between three and six months — of drivers from outside Shanghai.

In March, police launched a campaign to crack down on cloned taxis and black cabs operating around the city’s transportation hubs and preying on unsuspecting visitors.

Their efforts led to 109 drivers being detained, and 333 private cars and 59 cloned taxis being seized.


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