Taxi entrapment was 'totally wrong'

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, November 18, 2009
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The Shanghai Party chief has admitted that his city's illegal entrapment tactics to enforce traffic rules were "totally wrong," and happened because of loophole in the law.

Such practice of "entrapment" should only be applied under certain conditions and with special authorization, Yu Zhengsheng said in a TV interview released on Monday.

"But using this tactic in cracking down on illegal black taxis is totally wrong," he said.

In a crackdown of unlicensed taxi that started around 2000, the Shanghai traffic law enforcement bureau seized around 50,000 illegal cab drivers every year, each of whom faced a fine of 2,000 to 50,000 yuan ($300-$7,400). Districts offer public rewards of up to 600 yuan for tips about illegal cabs but some teams in Beijing and Shanghai have gone even further by employing civilians to aid their operations.

On Sept 8 in the Minhang district, Zhang Hui, 32, picked up a man who claimed he was suffering from a bad stomachache and begged for a ride. He was later cornered by a law enforcement van, accused of running a black taxi and fined 10,000 yuan.

Zhang has sued the local law enforcement team and a hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. On Monday, in evidence submitted by the two parties to the Minhang district court, the name of the man who acted as "bait" in the entrapment was revealed as Guan Shiquan.

On Oct 14 in Pudong district, Sun Zhongjie, 19, cut off his finger to demonstrate his innocence after being entrapped in a similar scheme. He cleared his name on Oct 26 when the district government apologized to him and admitted the illegal entrapment.

According to Beijing Morning Post, more than 1,000 people in Shanghai work as baits to assist traffic law enforcement. A woman who worked as bait in Shanghai was stabbed to death last year for assisting in a raid of black taxis.

Yu blamed the policy of tipping off police for creating professional informants who make money from it. "When the rewarding policy was first applied, no one had evaluated it from the legal point of view in terms of of what it could potentially bring," he said.

"It is an administrative loophole and reveals a deficiency in the understanding of the rule of law."

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