One day after announcing the creation of a new regulation team to investigate police practices in arresting illegal taxi drivers, the Pudong New Area District government officially cleared Sun Zhongjie of all charges. Having garnered much attention from the Chinese media and public at large for severing his finger to prove his innocence, Sun was ecstatic to hear of his exoneration.
China Daily reports:
Sun Zhongjie could not contain his tears yesterday when he learned an investigation had proved his innocence – two weeks after he chopped off his finger to protest police claims he was the driver of an illegal cab.
“I’m happy,” sobbed the 19-year-old from Henan province after he received the apology from Shanghai City Administration and Law Enforcement Bureau for Pudong New Area District.
In addition to issuing an official apology to Sun, the District government also intends on ‘compensating’ him for the distress Sun has endured the past few weeks. We assume a bionic finger would be out of the question?
Not only was Sun acquitted of his charges, but Jiang Liang, the deputy of Pudong District, also admitted to finding “improper methods” used in the arrest of Sun and in previous black cab cases. The Pudong police baited drivers into offering a ride to a fake passenger complaining of stomach pain and asking to be taken to the hospital, which is explicitly defined as an illegal practice in China.
Nevertheless, Jiang conceded that this had become common practice in law enforcement attempts to counteract the growing number of black cabs in and around Shanghai. “People who are responsible for illegal law enforcement and for the false investigation will be punished according to the law,” Jiang said. “The Pudong New Area district government will learn a lesson from the incident and regulate law enforcement against illegal cab operations.
Sun Zhongjie, a 19 year old who had only arrived in Shanghai two days before being arrested, is only one of what is estimated to be “several thousand drivers in Shanghai trapped every year during police crackdowns against black taxis.”
In a similar strain to Sun’s case, the Minhang District government announced that it would return a 10,000 yuan fine it had collected from Zhang Hui, a man also falsely accused of operating an unlicensed taxi.
We are ever hopeful that the district governments will manage to place some regulations on the illegal law enforcement surrounding the crackdown on black cabs. Until then, there’s only one sure-fire way to stay out of jail and on the road: abandon all generosity whatsoever.