What seemed like a cheap private-hire vehicle ride turned out to be illegal for these Singaporeans in Penang on 28 January.
Here’s what happened.
Didn’t Know It Was An Illegal Ride
According to the Malaysian media outlet Malaysia Gazette, a Singaporean tourist and his wife visited Penang for the first time.
When he walked to the taxi stands with his wife, a driver asked him where he was going and whether he’d already hired a private hire car.
Upon hearing that the tourist did not book a ride yet, the illegal driver asked for RM40 to take them to their destination. Thinking that it was a legitimate private-hire vehicle, the tourist agreed.
However, they were stopped by the authorities and taken to the police station, where they were told that RM40 was way below the market price for their destination. It was then that they realised the car they boarded was operating illegally.
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Penang Authorities Launched Operation to Catch Illegal Drivers
Penang’s land transport department shared on Facebook that they arrested various illegal drivers during an operation on 28 January. Six illegal private hire drivers were arrested, most of them near Penang International Airport.
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This operation was launched because the department received complaints from airport taxi and private-hire drivers, who claimed that illegal drivers frequently came to the airport and preyed on travellers. They would offer prices lower than market prices to solicit customers, despite not having a proper private-hire driver’s licence.
They would also target tourists travelling in groups of three or four since many of them drove minivans that could carry more than four passengers.
These illegal drivers do not provide insurance protection for passengers and damage the business of licenced taxi and private-hire drivers.
If one is convicted of providing illegal rides, they can be fined up to RM50,000, imprisoned for up to five years, or both.
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