S'porean tells of ordeal with Bangkok taxi driver who tried to cheat her, pulled out knife to threaten her
SINGAPORE — A taxi driver in Bangkok allegedly tried to cheat a Singaporean couple of their fare and, at one point, took out a knife in an attempt to intimidate the couple, who had travelled to the Thai capital to attend a friend’s wedding.
Speaking to TODAY, Ms Naomi Tan, 30, said: “We were so shocked. Just earlier on, I was still thinking that it’s so safe here.” She had filmed and published a video of the incident on TikTok, where it has since gone viral.
Ms Tan, who works for a bank, said that the incident happened on Monday (July 11) when she and her husband were travelling to Suvarnabhumi Airport to catch their 8.20am flight home.
The couple had been staying at Movenpick Hotel Sukhumvit 15 Bangkok and the staff members there had offered to help them hail a taxi from the road.
The couple and the driver agreed on a fixed fare of 400 baht (S$15), after the driver refused to use the taximeter to determine the price.
Upon arriving at the airport, Ms Tan gave the driver a 1,000 baht note because she did not have smaller ones but he refused to return their change.
Ms Tan said that the driver “turned aggressive” once he had the note in hand, and when they kept pressing him for the change, he even pulled out a knife that had been stashed in the compartment at the side door of the driver’s seat.
Ms Tan added that the knife appeared to be wrapped in a paper towel or cloth.
“We didn’t expect that… At that point, I was just reacting to the whole situation. I even managed to zoom in on the knife and I was so surprised that I did that at that time,” she recalled.
It was only after the couple approached an airport security guard for help did the taxi driver finally relent and return their change.
As the couple was early for their flight, they decided to file a police report at a police station located within the airport.
"He's taking advantage of the fact that people are in a rush to go to the airport and won't pursue it," Ms Tan said.
She added that four people had commented on her video, claiming that something similar happened to them in Bangkok. One of them claimed that they had been cheated by the same taxi driver.
Ms Tan said that she received an email from the airport police on Wednesday, confirming that they had contacted the taxi driver to interrogate him and to check his driver's licence and criminal record. They then took him to the Suvarnabhumi Airport Local Police Station so that he could be charged for carrying a weapon in public.
The airport police also said in their email that they had informed the Thai Department of Land Transport about the incident.
TODAY has reached out to the Suvarnabhumi Airport Police for comment.