Eight men have been arrested for scamming tourists arriving at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport by charging them extortionate fees for short taxi journeys, the public prosecution department said on Friday.
Several of the eight men picked up had official taxi licences but the others were operating illegally, the department said.
The taxis picked up foreign tourists at Schiphol who wanted to go to Amsterdam. At the end of their journey they attempted to charge their passengers ridiculously high fees and put considerable pressure on them if they refused to do so.
One Swedish tourist was charged €595 for a trip to the centre of the capital. As he only had €300 in cash, the driver forced him to withdraw the rest from an ATM. In another case, a tourist from Japan was held hostage in the cab because he refused to pay a bill of €300.
The eight men come from Amsterdam and Zwanenburg and are aged between 23 and 31. Four of them have been remanded in custody.
Police also found a gun and two tasers at the home of one of the suspects.
Haarlemermeer town council introduced a ban on taxi touts in February. Drivers caught breaking the law can be fined up to €1,500.
Last year, a taxi driver tried to charge a group of Chinese tourists €485 to take them from Schiphol airport to their hotel in the west of the city.
When the group tried to leave the taxi after refusing to pay, the driver drove off with them inside. In the end one of them managed to break a window and the taxi stopped.
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