Cabbie arrested for robbing Chinese passenger in Vietnam

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 Nguyen Van Tien, a 37-year-old cabbie, questioned at police station in Hanoi for allegedly robbing a Chinese passenger of more than US$1,200 on August 8

Police in Hanoi have arrested a taxi driver for allegedly robbing a Chinese passenger of over US$1,200, VnExpress online newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Hoan Kiem District police took Nguyen Van Tien, 37, into custody Wednesday on charges of robbery.

He is accused of threatening Xiechao Yang to steal his money on August 8, after the passenger refused to pay him $600 for a two-kilometer ride.

In a complaint filed to police the day after the robbery, the Chinese man said the driver asked him to get on the taxi while he was walking around the Old Quarter and it started raining.

After Yang refused the initial demand again, the driver locked the car's doors and ordered Yang to give up his money, according to Yang.

Yang said he gave the driver $1,200, 400 Hong Kong dollars and Vietnamese cash, and then rushed out of the car.

He also said that since he was so scared, he did not remember the car's number plate as well as the name of the taxi company.

Following to Yang's report, police launched an investigation and arrested Tien on August 10 at his wife's home in the nearby province of Hung Yen.

The driver told police that day he offered to drive Yang to a massage parlor, and the passenger agreed. However, later he changed his mind and wanted to return to his hotel.

Although the meter showed the fare was VND62,000, Tien asked his passenger to pay $600. He said when Yang gave him VND200,000, he made threats and took the latter's money.

According to Tien, he worked as a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver in the Old Quarter for ten years before switching to the current job a few months ago. He said he heard that some local taxi drivers live a "comfortable" life thanks to rips off targeting foreign tourists.

Tien said he worked from 7 p.m. till 7 a.m. the next day, around Hoan Kiem District.

The taxi he used was owned by another man rented it to him and charged half of his earnings, VnExpress quoted police as saying.

An unnamed investigator told the newspaper that they are clarifying if Tien victimized anyone else besides the Chinese man.

More than one year ago, Pham Van Sam, a 22-year-old taxi driver in Hanoi , was sentenced to five years in prison for forcing two Singaporean customers to pay him over $200 and SGD100 ($78) for a 10-kilometer ride on October 28, 2011. He also took their iPhone4 that they forgot in the car, after paying him the demanded money.

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