Hanoi police arrest taxi driver for extorting foreign guests

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Hanoi police said Monday they arrested a taxi driver who coerced two Singaporean delegates attending an Interpol meeting in the capital into paying exorbitant fees for a short ride.

Colonel Nguyen Duc Chung, deputy director of the Hanoi City Police Department, told Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper that Pham Van Xam, 42, was arrested on Sunday, November 6, when he was hiding in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong, more than 1,000 kilometers away from Hanoi.

Xam may be charged with "illgally appropriating properties," Chung said.

At around 8 p.m. on October 28, Chen Ang Dani and Than Sha Pen reportedly took a Phu Gia taxi belonging to Hanoi-based Thanh Hung Ltd. Co. from a restaurant on Phan Boi Chau Street to the National Convention Center on Pham Hung Street.

The Singaporean man and woman were participants of the 80th General Assembly of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) held from October 31 to November 3 in Hanoi.

When they got to the National Convention Center, the taxi driver asked them to pay US$200 and SGD100 ($78) for the 10-kilometer ride.

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The customers and driver argued, and after the customers paid and got out the taxi, they realized they had left their iPhone 4 in the car.

The driver, however, drove the car away.

By the time the Singaporean guests reported the case to Hanoi police, the driver had fled to Dak Nong Province.

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