YOKOHAMA – A man and his company were referred to prosecutors on Wednesday for allegedly operating an unlicensed taxi service in Yokohama using a three-wheeled motorized rickshaw, or tuk-tuk, marking the first taxi case illegal in Japan involving such a vehicle, local police said.
The 49-year-old president of the company from Yokohama, south of Tokyo, admitted the allegations of violations of the road transport law, Kanagawa prefectural police said.
Police say the man drove the tuk-tuk himself, charging ¥ 6,500 ($ 63) for a 30-minute tour of local sights such as the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. A photo was included in the fee.
The man is believed to have provided chargeable taxi services to nine groups of passengers in Yokohama between August 7 and October 14 last year without permission from authorities.
Sales of his company from September 2018 to the end of November totaled around 4 million yen.
The allegation came to light last July when police, while investigating another case, spotted the tuk-tuk carrying passengers.
The name tuk-tuk is derived from the sound emitted by the vehicle’s engine idling. They come in a variety of sizes and are popular in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia.
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