Angry passenger jumps into moving taxi

Angry passenger jumps into moving taxi
When the taxi tries to drive off, the man jumps into the passenger seat with the open door as it weaves through traffic.

It was a sight that people outside Lucky Chinatown mall probably will not forget - legs dangling out of a taxi door as it drove away.

Mr Alex Wong, 34, who works in a bank, recorded the action on Wednesday evening on his smartphone.

Mr Wong, who sent the video to The New Paper, said that it started as a dispute and quickly escalated as the man became increasingly aggressive towards the Comfort driver.

Mr Wong said that he was preventing the cabby from driving off after getting out.

"He was shouting aggressively in Mandarin and causing a scene," said Mr Wong.

"I am not sure what the dispute was about or what exactly he was shouting, as he had a very thick accent."

Mr Wong said that he did hear the man shouting something about Singaporeans.

The man can also be heard shouting profanities in the video.

It shows him outside the taxi's door, as it tries to drive away.

But he quickly jumps into the taxi with the door open, leaving his legs hanging out.

OPEN DOOR

The taxi weaves through traffic with its passenger door open before turning into Temple Street and stopping again.

"The taxi driver was very calm throughout the incident," said Mr Wong.

"He also tried to talk to the man's friend, who had come out of the taxi, but walked alongside it as it moved."

In the video, after the taxi stops at Temple Street, the man and the driver step out of the car.

The man can be heard shouting the taxi's licence plate number to someone over the phone.

The taxi driver closes the passenger door before heading back into the driver's seat and driving away, but not before the man hits the taxi's boot with his hand.

A shopkeeper, who wanted to be known only as Mr Li, said he heard the man shouting for about 10 minutes.

"I don't think the man was normal," said Mr Li, 75, who runs a Chinese medicinal shop at Lucky Chinatown.

"He could have been drunk or mentally unsound. Normal people wouldn't behave in such a manner in public."

He said that he was worried someone might have been injured.

"It was dangerous, with the taxi's door open like that and the man's legs sticking out," he said.

"I was worried someone might get injured. But the taxi left soon after so I let it be."

He also said that a crowd of about 20 people had gathered to see what the commotion was about but no one stepped in to do anything.

It is not known what the cause of the drama was.

Taxi drivers TNP showed the video to said it was dangerous for the cabby to drive off with the door open.

Taxi driver Eric Wong, 55, said the Comfort cabby should have stopped and called the police if necessary.

"It is dangerous to drive with the door open as he could hit someone or another car could hit the door," he said.

"He should have stopped and tried to talk to the passenger. If talking was not an option, then he should have just called the police and waited. There was no need for such behaviour."

Another cabby, who wanted to be known only as Mr Zahri, 61, said taxi drivers are not allowed to drive off with the door open.

"Maybe the guy was drunk and violent, but as cab drivers, we cannot just drive off like that with the door open," he said. "If something like that happened to me, I would stop and call another taxi driver to help, and also call the police."

Mr Wong said he called the police soon after capturing the incident on video.

A police spokesman said they received a call at about 8pm on Wednesday informing them of the incident.

"Upon police arrival, it was established that a case of dispute had occurred," he said. "The involved parties were advised to keep the peace and they complied. No further police assistance was required."

ComfortDelGro's group corporate communications officer Tammy Tan said they will be looking into the incident.

OTHER INCIDENTS

MARCH 2015

A video uploaded by the daughter of a taxi driver in his mid 50s recorded the exchanges between him and a rude 31-year-old passenger from Chai Chee.

It went viral, with many netizens being outraged and supporting the driver.

The verbally abusive passenger's alleged details were posted and shared widely online.

The passenger's father came out to say that he blames himself for his son's wrongdoing.

SEPTEMBER 2014

A 29-year-old Swede executive walked off without paying the fare.

When the 60-year-old taxi driver ran after him to try and collect it, the man tackled him to the ground and punched him several times in the face.

The Swede was sentenced to 12 weeks' jail.

MAY 2014

A freelance sales consultant threatened a 46-year-old taxi driver while holding a knife and also used it to dent the bonnet of the taxi.

The 24-year-old also challenged the cabby to a fight after shouting that he was from a secret society. He was jailed three weeks.

JULY 2013

A 43-year-old Briton who was in his sports car at a condominium in Changi got out of his car, walked towards a taxi that was in front of him, opened the passenger door behind the driver's seat and pushed the cabby's head forward while mumbling some words.

The 65-year-old driver suffered neck pain and muscle strain as a result.The technical manager was jailed two weeks for hurting him.


This article was first published on June 6, 2015.
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