‘Robber’ cabbie found to be ex-con

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‘Robber’ cabbie found to be ex-con

The drunk man took the taxi and was dropped off at a bus station near a park in Nodae-dong, Gwangju, as requested. The taxi driver’s friend sat in the passenger seat. After a few minutes, they attacked the drunk passenger as he was stumbling home according to police.

A police investigation revealed that the taxi driver has 40 previous convictions. His criminal record shows that he has previously committed assault and theft and was imprisoned several times for drug-related crimes.

The man passed the taxi driver’s license exam in July 2013. Article 21 of the Passenger Transport Service Act bars candidates with criminal records that include murder, robbery or drug-related offenses from acquiring a taxi driver’s license.

Candidates who were sentenced to imprisonment without forced labor or heavier punishment cannot obtain the license and those who carried out their sentences or received an exemption need to wait 20 years before acquiring one.

The man, however, committed his drug-related crimes in 2014, after acquiring his taxi driver’s license, and was released from the prison last September. Shortly after, he was employed by his current taxi company.

Police check taxi drivers’ criminal records twice a year and send the results to local governments, who revoke licenses when drivers are found guilty of crimes. But the man submitted a different name that did not match with his resident registration number.

“The man’s name doesn’t match with his resident registration number and it needs to be checked,” police told the Road Traffic Authority last December, but the same name was submitted again in June. Police asked for the name again, but the Road Traffic Authority officials did not respond.

“It’s likely that the regional association of taxi companies in Gwangju, who send in all taxi drivers’ names,” a spokesman said, “made a mistake in the first place.”

Police revealed that there are more cases, as a total of 907 transport workers’ names, submitted by the Road Traffic Authority, did not match with their resident registration numbers. The Road Traffic Authority did not attempt to identify drivers to review their criminal records, according to police, but it does plan to investigate the criminal records of 400,000 transport workers as concern for public transportation safety has increased.

BY KIM HO [kim.yuna1@joongang.co.kr]

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