Japan’s first unlicensed tuk-tuk taxi case referred to prosecutors

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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.

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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.

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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.

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

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