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I got into a cab ride in Hong Kong, which ended with the driver adding some silly surcharge (145 HKD). I wanted to report the taxi driver but the car had no plate and the driver's name was not displayed in the car. How should have I reported them? (e.g. am I allowed to hold the taxi driver while waiting for the police to arrive? Does the taxi contain any other identifiable information? Is taking a video/photo of the driver enough? etc.)

The receipt didn't have any useful information either (and was given to me as shown in the image below, with the top being missing):

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The official website to report issues with taxi drivers in Hong Kong asks for either the taxi driver's name or plate: https://www.tcu.gov.hk/taxi/index.htm

  • If you have no identifying information about the car, what do you expect the police to do? – JonathanReez Dec 30 '18 at 3:53
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    This being a "hindsight" question, it seems like the thing to know for the future isn't "how to report a cab with no number", but "don't get into a cab with no number"! – Nate Eldredge Dec 30 '18 at 3:53
  • @JonathanReez as written in the question: "am I allowed to hold the taxi driver while waiting for the police to arrive? Does the taxi contain any other identifiable information? Is taking a video/photo of the driver enough? etc." I'm not asking to necessarily report the past trip, but at least in case of a similar instance in the future. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 30 '18 at 4:00
  • @NateEldredge the plate was removed during the trip. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 30 '18 at 4:00
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    Why did you pay? I would have expected that a photo of the driver and a photo of the car would both have been useful to the police. – DJClayworth Dec 30 '18 at 21:15
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If a vehicle displays no license plate, the driver has offended multiple articles in the Road Traffic (Registration and Licensing of Vehicles) Regulations, Cap 374E of the Laws of Hong Kong. This is a criminal offence, and can be punished by a fine of HK$2,000 at the very least (and IIRC, loss of driving privileges).

So, in this case, you should gather whatever information you have and call the police at 999. At the same time, you should also lodge a complaint with the Transportation Complaints Unit and provide all available information, explaining that the driver doesn't have a license plate on display.

Then, you can only pray that the police catches the offender and punish them. The police do have a small chance of finding them, but you shouldn't plan on it.

If they can't help you get your money back even if the offender was found (unlikely case), you may be able to sue them in the Small Claims Tribunal if you really want your money back. No legal representation (i.e. barristers) are permitted in the Small Claims Tribunal, so no worries about legal charges.

  • Thanks, no problem for the money back, I didn't pay the surcharge as I argued with the driver. The issue is that in such situation I have no information other than the departure and arrival points: I'm afraid the police won't try to catch the driver as the only way I can see if using surveillance videos, which is currently time consuming (hopefully AI will change that soon). Any idea what kind of information I could gather in such situation? Is holding the driver legal in Hong Kong in that case while waiting for law enforcement? – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 30 '18 at 4:24
  • @FranckDernoncourt Of course not - that would constitute illegal imprisonment. Don't try to do that. This is merely a civil dispute, and not a case where you could legally claim necessity to use force. Unless the driver has threatened the use of force to harm you, or you can reasonably believe that they will physically harm you, holding the driver is illegal. Even if I'm not fully correct, I suggest erring on the side of caution. – xuq01 Dec 30 '18 at 4:30
  • ok it's not obvious to me as one can hold someone in the US in some conditions to wait for cops to arrive. Depends on the jurisdiction and I'm not familiar with Hong Kong laws. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 30 '18 at 4:33
  • @FranckDernoncourt Not just because the driver has overcharged you - if the driver would cause bodily harm to you (or if you could reasonably believe so), of course you can hold them until the police comes. If they just try to overcharge you, no you likely can't do so. – xuq01 Dec 30 '18 at 4:36

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