Wed, Dec 27, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Police revoke taxi driver’s license due to conviction

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taichung police yesterday said they have revoked the taxi driver’s license of a man surnamed Lee (李), who had previously received government awards for his good service, after finding that he has a prior criminal conviction.

Lee, 58, who said he needs the job to support his family, appealed to Taichung City Councilor Chu Nuan-ying (朱暖英) to have the suspension lifted.

His license was suspended after a routine check of a criminal conviction database last month, which found that he had served a 14-month prison term and was released in 2003, Taichung Police Department general traffic division head Chiu Chao-hsun (邱昭勳) said.

Lee was convicted of extortion, a major crime that prohibits drivers from obtaining a taxi driver’s license as stipulated by the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例), Chiu said.

Critics said the case highlighted significant loopholes in the police database, putting public safety at risk, as Lee has driven a cab for 13 years since his release from prison and was honored by the government as a “model worker” in 2013 and for “outstanding service as a taxi driver” in 2014.

As a taxi driver’s license must be renewed each year, police review driving records and criminal convictions, Chiu said, but added that “Lee’s original case dates to 2001, and paper records have only been gradually digitized over the past 10 years.”

Lee appealed to Chu for a second chance to continue working as a taxi driver, saying that he has been a good driver with no major traffic infractions and has not broken the law in more than 14 years.

“I was asked by a neighbor to withdraw money from an automated teller machine. Turns out the neighbor was extorting someone after hijacking their car. I was convicted as an accomplice and served my time in prison,” Lee said.

Chu said she would help Lee, but criticized the police and their slow digitalization of criminal records, adding that there might be serious offenders who have served their time in jail and now work as taxi drivers.

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