A fake taxi driver who charged €247 for a 27-kilometre journey in Paris has been given an eight-month jail term.
The victims were a Thai couple who had just arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport and were heading into the city centre. The price of such a journey would normally be set at a flat rate of €50-55.
The driver, named only as Enock C, claimed to work for the ride-hailing company Chauffeur Privé.
When the 25-year-old’s passengers contested the fare he showed them an MOT certificate, claiming it was his taxi licence. He also claimed an application on his phone — which was displaying a €247 charge — was a taximeter.
One of the victims, Charkrid Thanhachartyothin, filmed from the back seat — see the video, above — as their fake cabbie drove around Paris, refusing to let them out until they paid. Eventually, the couple gave the Haitian €200 in order to get out and retrieve their luggage from the boot.
Thanks to the video recording, police were able to track the driver down via his licence plate, which was printed on the MOT certificate. He was arrested and charged with extortion by violence or threats as well as illegally exercising the profession of a taxi driver.
Enock C argued in his defence that he did not realise the €247 fare had been unreasonable as it was "the app which decides" the price. He also denied refusing to let the couple alight from the car, despite the apparent video evidence to the contrary.
Found guilty, he was sentenced to a year in jail, four months of which are to be suspended. He was also fined €400 for driving without the requisite insurance and has had two vehicles confiscated.
The victims received €250 in damages.
France's National Taxi Federation (FNDT) is also seeking €247 in damages in a civil case, contending that Enock C's conduct damages the reputation of the profession of a taxi driver.