He may have lost a digit but Liu Yan-Zhou Sun, the man who chopped off his own finger to prove to the local authorities that he is not a black cab, has not necessarily lost his credibility as an upstanding citizen.
Due to significant public interest in Sun’s case, the Pudong New Area People’;s Government recently ordered an investigation into the practices of the Nanhui Urban Traffic Administrative Law Enforcement unit, the organization behind the recent crackdown on black cabs in Shanghai. In particular the investigation will focus on the team responsible for Sun’s arrest.
According to Xinmin, Sun has consistently denied being a black cab and purported being shocked when he was arrested for offering to give a ride to a man who was complaining of an “upset stomach.” The man, who turned out to be an urban traffic official posing as a passenger, was joined by other members of the covert team when Sun stopped at the next stoplight.
Preliminary reports suggest that the Urban Traffic unit was overhasty in arresting Sun, and that there remains inconclusive evidence as to whether or not Sun can be labeled a “black cab.” In an executive session earlier today, the district government stressed an insufficient justification for Sun’s arrest and, while far from offering an apology to Sun or overturning the arrest, has called for examination of evidence in what (gasp!) might be something approaching judicial process (that is, with the assumption that everyone is guilty until proven innocent).
Even more surprisingly, the district government also reprimanded the traffic enforcement unit for using potentially “illegal practices” in apprehending Sun. At no point did Sun discuss cab fare with the passenger, nor did he attempt to solicit any form of payment from the traffic enforcement agent. What’s more, the traffic enforcement team used significant force in detaining Sun, leaving him with ripped pants and a hole in his jacket, “subject[ing] to extreme humiliation”,
The district government based its judgment on audio recordings of the incident and interviews of those involved, stating that restructuring within the law enforcement unit would occur as is deemed necessary upon further examination of the evidence.
Still, Yan Liang-min, the Deputy of Pudong’s transportation law enforcement, maintains that the team in no way violated existing procedure, and remains “100% sure that Sun was driving a black cab.”
Shanghai’s newspapers seem to have the same split personality when it comes to telling the story. According to ESWN:
two Shanghai news websites took diametrically opposite positions in the reporting/commentary of the case of Sun Zhongjie.
The headline over at Xinmin was
The headline over at Eastday was
. This was accompanied by an essay titled . The relevant news links did not address the “fishing operation,” the “reverse hooks” and “the chopped finger.” Instead, they refer to the evils of “illegal cabs”: <'Illegal cabs' only care about money but disregard safety>, , .