Overcharging, drugs and weapons: Police arrest 30 motorbike taxi ‘Win’ drivers in Bangkok

Photo via Bang Sue Police Station

Thai police cracked down on naughty ‘Win’ motorbike taxi drivers in Bangkok, Thailand, at the weekend and found no shortage of criminal activity. During April 15-17, police arrested 30 ‘Win’ drivers for a wide range of offences, mostly for overcharging passengers, but also for carrying weapons, drugs, and other traffic violations.

Bangkok residents and tourists alike depend on the orange jacket gang to whizz them around the city, zipping in and out of traffic, scaling Bangkok’s pavements, and taking bizarre shortcuts to get them from A to B in no time.

Motorbike taxis might be the fastest and most convenient way to get around the capital but are passengers safe in the hands of Win drivers? Bang Sue Police Station‘s two-day crackdown suggests not.

With no standardised pricing system, Win drivers often opportunistically ask for a higher price than the standard, especially from foreigners. This was heightened during Songkran, with police finding that Win drivers were charging “brutal” prices during the holidays, reports DailyNews.

Aside from charging too much, other Win drivers were arrested for not having a motorbike driver’s license, driving illegal vehicles, and picking up passengers in the wrong areas.

Three of the 30 Win drivers tested positive for use of a Class 1 Narcotic (methamphetamine) and one was arrested for carrying a weapon in public without reason (knife). All 30 were detained for interrogation and prosecuted according to the law at Bang Sue Police Station.

In January, a Win driver charged a passenger 380 baht for a 4.7-kilometre journey from Victory Monument to Mahanak Intersection – a journey that would cost about 60 baht in a public metred taxi.

However, taking Bangkok’s green and yellow taxis can be even more of a headache, with most taxi drivers asking for set prices rather than using the taxi metre as required by law.

Yesterday, netizens condemned a Bangkok taxi driver for ripping off two foreign tourists. The driver was caught on camera charging the tourists 700 baht for a 7-kilometre journey – seven times the standard fare. The video was posted by the comrades of citizen journalism in Thailand, “So you wanna be famous? Part 6.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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