Hong Kong taxi driver cleared over 6 cent overcharge

A taxi driver who endured a six-month lawsuit after overcharging a passenger by six US cents has finally had his name cleared by a Hong Kong court.

Tam Hoi-Chi walked free after his case was thrown out Thursday but was left questioning the city's justice system.

"I want to know why the opposite side, for the reason of this small amount, would want to sue me," Tam, 57, told reporters outside the court afterwards. "It's really not just. Why did I have to waste so much time? I have to make a living," he said.

He stood accused of "taxi overcharge" according to the Hong Kong judiciary's website. The case was brought to court even though rounding up to the nearest dollar is a commonly-accepted practice among the city's taxi drivers and passengers.

Tam had overcharged a female passenger HK$0.50 ($0.06) on a HK$136.5 fare, local newspaper South China Morning Post reported.

She had handed over HK$200 at the end of the journey last October and received HK$63 in change, but did not immediately ask for the 50 cents. She later made a complaint to the police, the Post said.

Prosecutors offered no evidence to the court after they reviewed the case and witness statements, according to the newspaper.

"Given the trivial nature ... it was considered not appropriate to proceed with it," the city's Department of Justice told the Post, saying that it had not been consulted before the charge was laid.

"This wastes Hong Kong people's money, and it wastes government money, and wastes time," Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association chairman Wong Chung-keung told AFP, adding that he's never seen this happen to his drivers before.

It was not immediately clear how much the case had cost the Hong Kong taxpayer.

  • 2015 Nissan Murano aims for the style-forward crowd 4 hours ago
    2015 Nissan Murano aims for the style-forward crowd

    Nissan says its 2015 Murano crossover, only the second major revamp of the car since it debuted in 2003, draws its design cues from the “age of future space flight.” That’s probably taking it a little far, but the new Murano, based off the 2013 Resonance concept vehicle, is an exceptionally lovely machine, all fluid, curved metal on the outside, and flowing, soft-touch materials on the inside. Certain kinds of comfort and charms that were unheard-of outside of premium vehicles five years ago have definitely trickled down, and reached a kind of design apotheosis with this car.

  • Volkswagen brings new (ish) Jetta to New York along with Golf Sportwagen 7 hours ago
    Volkswagen brings new (ish) Jetta to New York along with Golf Sportwagen

    With its new President and CEO of America, Michael Horn, on stage in New York after just 100 days on the job, Volkswagen debuted its 2015 Jetta. You'd be forgiven for noticing little differences compared to the outgoing model, and in the words of Horn himself, the changes are indeed subtle. The most notable of those subtleties is the all-new 2.0 liter turbo diesel motor, offering 45 mpg highway and a modest increase of 10 hp. For VW, diesel is where it's at.

  • With Vantage GT, Aston Martin races below $100,000 7 hours ago
    With Vantage GT, Aston Martin races below $100,000

    Aston Martin is going downmarket, sort of. The 2015 Vantage GT, a sport-styled variant of Aston’s legendary flagship car, draws style and performance tips from their GT4 race cars, which will be running in North America this year. It’s also priced at $99,900, which shows that the market for these kinds of consumer sports cars has boomed in recent years.