Man refuses to pay HKD190 taxi fare then sets cab on fire

A 28-year-old Hong Kong man was arrested yesterday after he refused to pay his taxi fare, doused the car in paint thinner and allegedly set it on fire.

At 11am yesterday, the man, surnamed Chan, hailed a cab from To Kwa Wan to Tuen Mun’s Leung King Estate, but said he didn’t have enough money to pay the HKD190 fare upon arriving at his destination, Apple Daily reports.

He suggested asking his relatives who live at Leung King Estate for cash. The 71-year-old taxi driver, surnamed Cheng, accompanied Chan to where he claimed his family lived, but nobody answered the door. 

Cheng told Apple Daily that Chan then went back into the car and started smoking a cigarette before suddenly dousing the car in “something that smelled like paint thinner” and running away.

“I chased after him and people on the street told me that my taxi had gone up in flames.” 

Bystanders who heard Cheng’s shouts for help subdued Chan and held him until police arrived.

The interior of Cheng’s taxi after the fire was put out. Screenshot: Apple Daily

Firefighters rushed to the scene and spent half an hour putting out the blaze, which had spread to a minibus. 

Police arrested Chan on suspicion of arson and took him to the station for questioning. According to initial investigations, the 28-year-old has a history of mental illness. The case is being handled by officers from the Tuen Mun District Crime Squad.


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