KUALA LUMPUR - Two taxi drivers paid a heavy price for overcharging their passengers when they were slapped with hefty fines in two separate cases at the magistrate's court yesterday.
First in the dock was J. Elanggo, who pleaded guilty to over-charging a British couple of nearly RM460 (S$188) in taxi fare for a trip from the KLCC in Jalan Ampang to the Dorsett Regency Hotel, Jalan Imbi, about 2pm on Feb 8.
The couple, Evelyn Irene and Rex Alan Frank, were shocked when they were asked to pay RM459.20 when the meter only showed RM8.
The couple paid the fare but lodged a report with the Complaints and Investigation Unit of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) later that day.
Counsel N. Satgurunathan, who appeared for Elanggo, pleaded for a lenient penalty in light of the high cost of living his client shouldered.
"He only earns on average RM3,500 a month, RM2,250 of which are already spent on monthly taxi rental. He has a wife and two young children to support."
Prosecuting officer Chief Inspector Nom Phot Prackdit urged the court to impose a heavy sentence to deter other taxi drivers from committing the same offence.
Magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazari fined the accused RM1,000 and ordered him to serve a month in jail if he did not pay the fine.
Elanggo paid the fine.
In the same court later, another taxi driver was fined RM400 in default four days' jail after he pleaded guilty to over-charging four passengers RM8 in taxi fare.
Ahmad Osman, 53, demanded the victims pay the RM8 instead of RM4.80 which was shown in the taxi meter.
He committed the offence at the LRT Sentul Timur in Taman Dato Senu, here, around 6.37pm on Nov 30, last year. He paid the fine.
Speaking to reporters outside court, SPAD legal and secretarial executive Nor Shahkierra Abd Manan said the convictions of the two taxi drivers were the first for the offence of over-charging passengers.
The taxi drivers could have been fined a maximum RM50,000, jailed not more than three years or both.