CHINA> Regional
Officials deny driver's entrapment claim
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-10-21 08:12

SHANGHAI: Local transport supervisors did not entrap a van driver while investigating illegal cab operations, according to urban management authorities in the Pudong New Area of Shanghai.

Authorities announced the judgment yesterday after an investigation on an alleged unlicensed cab operation by a 19-year-old driver named Sun Zhongjie last Wednesday.

The young man was so upset over the accusation that he cut off a piece of his little finger of his left hand to prove his innocence. He was sent to hospital immediately for surgery. But he said the doctor told him the finger may never recover its normal function.

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The case aroused concern from municipal government officials, who responded in a statement on Sunday that they would look into the situation.

"Enforcement of traffic rules must conform to the law. Illegal enforcement will be punished once proved," the statement said.

The report by the urban management authorities of Pudong New Area said the local transport supervisors' enforcement "was legitimate, and the related means to collect evidence was not inappropriate".

According to the report, the local urban management authorities completed a thorough probe into the case in line with the requirements of the municipal government.

They found that around 8 pm on Oct 14, local transport supervisors detected Sun was conducting an "illegal cab operation" near No 188 Zhahang Road in Pudong New Area.

The passenger involved in the case told the urban management authorities that Sun agreed on a cab fare of 10 yuan ($1.5) after a discussion and when asked whether he had a cab license, Sun said "no".

However, Sun gave an entirely different story.

Sun said he arrived in Shanghai after traveling from his hometown in Henan province. Sun, driving a mini van, was sent by his employer, Shanghai Pangyuan Construction Machinery Engineering Company, to pick up someone at Hangtou Town in Pudong district last Wednesday night.

"It was late and there were few cars on the street," Sun said.

"Then I saw a man standing in the middle of the road waving to me. I stopped the car and he opened the door and got in without asking me. Then he told me he was sick and cold, begging for a lift.

"I started the car. And in three minutes, at an intersection, a van slid from the right side and stopped in front of me."

Sun stopped the car and the hitchhiker threw a 10-yuan note to Sun and jumped out. He disappeared when several people walked up to him and claimed they were from transport enforcement.

"I thought they were robbers. I wanted to call police and they grabbed my phone. They told me that I had engaged in a illegal cab operation, which is not true," he said.

The vehicle was confiscated and authorities asked him to go to their office later to pay the fine and claim the van. Sun will have to pay a 10,000 yuan ($1,460 ) fine if the charge is proven true.

Sun said he believed it was obviously entrapment and "felt so angry and insulted" that he cut off his finger to protest the alleged trap.

China Daily-Xinhua