Taxi detained after tourists complain of rip off

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Transport inspectors in Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday temporarily confiscated a taxi after its driver was accused of ripping off two Spanish tourists the day before.

Dam Phan Phat, chief of the inspectorate team No.1 of the HCMC Department of Transport, said they have kept the taxi driven by Nguyen Thanh Kiet, who operated his service under the 27.7 Transport Services Co., Ltd, for testing its meter.

According to Jose Angel Matas, one of the two tourists, Kiet charged them VND394,500 (US$18.79) for a distance of around  one kilometer from the Ben Thanh Market to the Nguyen Thai Binh Market.

The price was shown on the meter, although it should have cost less than VND20,000 ($0.95) for such a distance, Matas said.

The tourists asked Kiet the reason for such a high price, but probably due to  the language barrier, the explanation was not clear, Matas told Thanh Nien.

Later he gave them a receipt of the Mai Linh Taxi Company, asking them to write down the price, and continued asking them to make the payment, she said.

Matas said she then gave him VND400,000 ($19.06), saying that they would inform police, so Kiet gave her back VND200,000 ($9.53).

Later, the foreigners took the receipt to the headquarters of the Mai Linh Taxi Company in District 1 to lodge a complaint.

However, Ho Huy, chairman of the Mai Linh Corporation, said the receipt did not belong to his company, so the police stepped in and took Kiet along with his taxi for questioning.


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The driver told the police that the fare was about VND39,500, so when the tourists gave him two notes of VND200,000 he returned one, thinking that the VND160,000 ($7.62) in change was given to him as a tip.

Kiet failed to present his vehicle registration certificate and did not have regulated logos on his taxi, police said, adding that the case was being investigated further.

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