Cabbie fined, licence suspended for ditching passengers

Taxi driver Surachart Artwongsa, 43, is seen threatening his Korean passengers in this blurred still posted by JS100 radio from a video. On Friday he was fined and his licence suspended by the Land Transport Department. (JS100 photo)

A Bangkok taxi driver who drove around the city instead of taking his Korean passengers to their destination, and then ejected and threatened them, has been fined and his licence suspended.

Surachart Artwongsa, 43, reported to the Land Transport Department on Friday. He was fined the maximum 1,000 baht for failing to take his passengers to their destination and 1,000 baht for being rude. 

His driving licence was suspended for one month.

The punishment followed an online post by Kim Woo Ri, a South Korean show host visiting Thailand with his staff, according to media reports.

He said a cabbie had driven his metered taxi around in seeming circles for 20 minutes, even though their trip normally took 10 minutes.

When they complained, the driver told them to get out and later got out of his vehicle and threatened them with a "stick".  Reports said Mr Kim posted a video of incident.

Mr Surachart explained that the incident arose on Wednesday from his passengers speaking a language he did not understand. He thought they wanted to visit Sampeng market, and only later realised they wanted to go to Sathon Road, according to the reports.

He did not want to go to Sathon Road, so he told them to get out, without demanding they pay the fare.

He became angry when they did not close the doors and he had to get out of the cab to do it. He grabbed and waved a paper-roll core, as he was seen doing in the posted video. He apologised to the Thai people and to his fellow cabbies for damaging their image.

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