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Illegal taxis in Shanghai facing crackdown

By Zhou Wenting (China Daily)

08:36, July 31, 2012

A brigade of secret investigators will be established to deal with illegal cabs in Shanghai, according to a senior transport official in the municipality.

The team will facilitate obtaining evidence to identify illegal taxis and help crack down on the proliferation of them in the market, said Yang Xiaoxi, deputy head of the Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority.

The brigade will draw experiences from Hong Kong, he said, which means the law enforcement officials gather evidence disguised as passengers after receiving reports of illegal cabs from residents.

Some strict requirements will standardize the operation, he said. "For example, law enforcers must go in pairs, and audio and video recordings must be taken."

Yang stressed they will ban the practice of entrapment after the government issued codes of conduct for law enforcers in 2010, which forbid all improper means, including inducement, deception and coercion, when investigating and collecting evidence of unlicensed taxi operation.

The document was enacted after several incidents of entrapment raised public concern in recent years.

Zhang Hui, a resident of Shanghai's Minhang district, was identified as an illegal cab driver and was fined 10,000 yuan ($1,570) when he gave a ride to a man who claimed he was suffering a stomachache and rushed to a hospital in September 2009.

Believing in the lack of a legal basis for the fine and the law enforcers' violation of law, Zhang filed a lawsuit, which declared the method of obtaining evidence in the case was improper and led to a false judgment.

Sun Zhongjie, from Henan province, cut off the little finger of his left hand in October 2009 to protest an alleged trap after he was accused of being engaged in the taxi business without a license in Pudong New Area.

The driver insisted the law enforcer, who pretended to be a passenger, got into the car before Sun approved, and he did not ask for a fare.

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