Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Philippines: Chinese Tourist, 44, Attacked with Tire Iron by Taxi Driver, Robbed, Driver Flees, Victim Rushed to Hospital

Chen Jun, 44, had to be stitched up by physicians at Quirino Memorial Medical Center after the cab driver hit her repeatedly on the head with a tire iron, police said. He then took her valuables, leaving her behind in the taxi which he also abandoned on the southbound lane of Katipunan Avenue near Aurora Boulevard in Barangay Escopa 3, Project 4, Quezon City. 

A check with the cab company identified the driver of the Sir Anthony Transport Service taxi (UVZ 437) as Simeon Abad. 

“Most of the victim's wounds head injuries. The suspect could have fled to his old neighborhood in Barangay Escopa 3 or escaped to [his] province,” Quezon City Police District Project 4 station commander Supt. Danilo Pecana told The Inquirer

According to Superintendent Pecana, Ms. Chen arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City at approximately 0400 hours on Wednesday (June 11) and flagged down a taxicab to bring her to a bus terminal in Cubao where she planned to catch a ride to Dau, Pampanga. 

The cab driver alternatively took her to Barangay Escopa 3 where he attempted to steal her tote bag which contained all of her possessions, including her passport, as he was still driving. 

As they wrestled for possession of the bag, the cab driver lost control of the vehicle and hit a curb.  

“He then proceeded to retrieve a tire wrench and began beating the victim with it until she let go of her bag,” Pecana said, adding that the driver then escaped. 

Some Metropolitan Manila Development Authority personnel saw the victim inside the abandoned taxi and rushed her to the hospital. 

COMMENT: We are continuing to see anecdotal evidence of increasing violence against travelers, particularly those that HAIL taxis, a practice I strongly urge travelers NOT to engage in:

See below tips:

1. Always carry a mobile phone. Not doing so leaves you vulnerable to violent threats against you. It is simply indicative of the times we live in;

2. If you don't speak the language, don't get in over your head. Plan ahead and request an interpreter or translator through:

http://www.atanet.org/onlinedirectories/individuals_tabs

3. Always subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation coverage before leaving home. See http://www.insuremytrip.com;

4. Register your foreign itinerary with your appropriate foreign affairs agency if they offer such a service. If they can't reach you, that cannot inform you about friends and relatives who become ill during your trip abroad;

5. If you are carrying a lot of electronic gadgets, including a laptop and everything that goes with it, consider insuring everything through:

http://www.safeware.com;

6. Although generally more expensive, another dependable option is to make arrangements with the concierge at your hotel to to drive you to all meetings that you need to visit during your stay;

7. I STRONGLY discourage hailing taxis and taking public transportation;

8. The day you arrive at your destination, call your consulate or embassy and ask them for the names of three reputable radio-controlled taxi services that enable you to call them on your mobile phone with some expectation that they will actually appear at your address when requested. If they are not helpful, you're back-up is #6 above;

9.  Always negotiate the price of a fare in advance;

10. Tip well;

11. If you draw an unsafe driver, never use him/her again, but don't argue;

12. If you smell alcohol or drugs in close proximity to the driver, use another;

13. Never squabble with drivers over a few bucks. It will raise your blood pressure and have a bad result that may impact on the success of your visit;

14. Don't use inexpensive taxis to save money. If you do, you'll encounter confrontations, arguments unsavory folks and maybe even a beating you really don't need; and

15. Use # 6 above, get your work done, tip well, save time and focus on the positives that the country offers. Negativity is always a deal-breaker.