By Kang Seung-woo
The Seoul Metropolitan Government said, Friday, it will enhance its monitoring on taxi drivers who overcharge foreign tourists amid an increasing number of such incidences.
|The Seoul Metropolitan Government is cracking down on taxi drivers who rip off foreign tourists. / Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government|
It will also share information with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and the Korea Tourism Organization in advance about drivers who are suspected of overcharging foreign nationals.
In addition, based on records of the past three years, it will extend the crackdown around places where overcharging of foreigners is frequent.
In particular, in May and October when many Chinese and Japanese travelers come to Korea on the occasions of their long holidays, Seoul City plans to launch special inspections of department stores, tourist destinations and accommodation facilities.
To this end, the city government has increased the number of foreign-language speaking civil servants in charge of preventing scams from 11 to 19 ― eight for Chinese, six for Japanese, four for English and one for Vietnamese.
Practically, the local government is running a "mystery shopper" program, in which people take cabs pretending they are foreign tourists to see whether taxi drivers charge foreign passengers fairly.
The crackdowns come as 301 out of 310 reported illegal acts by taxi drivers against inbound tourists are overcharging, accounting for 97 percent.
When it comes to the penalty for the taxi overcharging, the first offense is a 200,000 won ($176) fine, followed by 400,000 won and license suspension on a second offense and 600,000 won fine and license disqualification on a third offense.