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Taxi drivers ‘sexually target’

drunk women

Aja Styles
February 9, 2011 – 3:57PM

Sexual assaults on drunken females in taxis are on the rise, after a further four drivers were charged with a range of offences from up-skirting to rape.

Police and the Department of Transport are investigating whether cultural reasons are to blame for the offences since a number of taxi drivers charged this year have been of South Asian descent.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Hindriksen, of the sex assault squad, said they have been looking to extradite a number of taxi drivers who escaped overseas to face serious charges and it was not uncommon for those charged or those who learn they are being investigated to flee the country.

“There is some 4000 licensed or active drivers operating in the state and when you look at those charged and the allegations it is certainly a small minority creating problems for the whole industry,” he said.

He however conceded that sexual assault on the basis of cultural difference appeared to be a modern problem plaguing the taxi industry.

“Since my time in the sex assault squad we’ve noticed an increase in the last two or three years,” he said.

Up to three of the four drivers charged will face having their passports seized, the fourth being of Australian descent, and all of them have had their taxi licenses suspended pending the outcome of the judicial process.

All four men have been charged in recent days over the separate incidents after the women came forward to make the complaints, some of which are alleged to have occurred in 2009.

A Wembley man, 41, was charged with taking images up a woman’s skirt using his mobile phone while she was passed out in his taxi back in May 2009.

Police seized his computer and further claim he had gathered a two-year catalogue of similar images dating up to this year.

He has been charged with one count of an indecent act in public and will face the Perth Magistrates Court next week.

A Thornlie man, 36, is accused of twice sexually penetrating a 24-year-old woman who was drunkenly passed out in the cab of a fellow taxi driver on February 5.

The woman’s driver brought her to a park on the corner of Farrington Road and Progress Street in North Lake, where his friend met him and allegedly carried out the assaults.

He will face the Perth Magistrates Court on March 8.

A Bentley man, 24, has been charged with indecently touching a 19-year-old woman he picked up in Fremantle and took to Huntingdale just before 3am on January 23.

He will face an indecent assault charge in the Armadale Magistrates Court on February 18.

Another 24-year-old Bentley man is accused of threatening to rape a woman after they got into an argument on a taxi trip to her home in Daglish in the early hours of Monday night.

The argument spiralled after she refused to clean up dirt that had come from her handbag.

The driver has been charged with one count of threatening to harm and is due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on February 18.

Detective Hindriksen warned that women should make note of a taxi’s registration and driver ID and pre-book taxis so that drivers can be tracked down and charged.

Friends of those getting in to taxis drunk should consider seeing them home safely and make sure they are seated in the back seat of the taxi, he said.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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