Dressed in Halloween costumes, undercover cops bust overcharging cabbie

TAKE ME TO SHEUNG WAN!

They were the most convincing Halloween costumes of all. Well, in a way.

A woman dressed as a witch along with two men — one sporting the mask from the ’90s slasher Scream (aka Ghostface Killer)  and another dressed as what appear a Qing dynasty eunuch — gave a dodgy Hong Kong taxi driver one hell of a fright in the early hours of this morning.

Because, while their costumes weren’t overly terrifying, their concealed identities meant trouble for the overcharging cabbie.

The trio were undercover police officers, who pounced on the 58-year-old driver after he slugged them HK$100 (US$13) for a ride from Lan Kwai Fong to Sheung Wan and refused to turn on the meter.

Pictures of the arrest, with the cops still in costume, can be seen at on.cc, which first reported the story.

The trio had met the cabbie at Lower Albert Road in Central at about 1:30am and, according to the outlet, the taxi driver’s wife was in the front seat.

One of the officers, perhaps to give the impression of a vulnerable target, requested a ride in Mandarin.

They were dropped at the Ibis Hotel on Des Voeux Road West in Sheung Wan, a distance that normally shouldn’t cost any more than HK$30 to HK$40 (US$4 to US$5).

After the group arrived, and the taxi driver accepted his requested payment of HK$100, the cops revealed their true identities and made the arrest.

The cabby’s wife — who had been brought along by her husband for company and to enjoy the LKF Halloween festivities — was allowed to leave.

The arrest was one of two made during an operation last night to catch unscrupulous taxi drivers.

In a separate case, another cabbie was also arrested after overcharging two undercover officers posing as mainland tourists.

That driver, aged 48, demanded the pair pay HK$300 for an HK$30 journey from Central to Wan Chai.

The government earlier this year proposed a demerit points system to dock dodgy taxi drivers, though such offenses as overcharging, refusing to turn on the meter, and taking indirect routes are already against the law.

Drivers face a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a HK$10,000 fine for overcharging.

Official statistics show that, in the second quarter of 2018, there were 2,699 complaints of taxi driver malpractice, a 13 percent jump compared to the same period the previous year. The complaints included overcharging, refusing fares and driving behavior.

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