A “production line” rolling out fake cabs was taken down by local cops as 10 people were held and a slew of vehicles and counterfeit driving licenses seized, according to Shanghai Daily.
The cabs were mostly once-abandoned cars repainted and illegally fitted with taxi signs, taxi meters and false plates, according to police, who’d been tipped about a group of people selling the illegal vehicles in the Jiading district.
The group bought the abandoned cars for around 5,000 yuan and transformed them into illegal cabs, selling them from around 18,000 yuan to a lucrative 25,000 yuan.
Police found the so-called factory where the group stored and repaired the vehicles near a suburban house, along with notices about secondhand cars complete with contacts.
So far this year, a total of 329 people have been held for criminal cases involving unlawful transport, according to the same report, with over 70 fake cabs and unlicensed cars seized.
Illegal cabs are more likely to be involved in crimes, usually stemming from fare-related disputes. In 2012, an unlicensed cabbie working in Shanghai was sentenced to three years and three months and prison after running over a foreigner twice following a fare dispute. Police have likewise issued warnings to the unlicensed cab drivers who often face violent encounters with passengers for the same reason. This year in March, a female driver of an unlicensed cab was robbed and assaulted by two passengers then left to die in Shanghai’s Fengxian district.