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Illegal taxi drivers at Bucharest's main airport are under scrutiny following the recent grisly murder of a Japanese student.
Police on Thursday raided cars and drivers from the area of Bucharest’s main airport, Otopeni, in an attempt to curb the activities of illegal taxi drivers following the recent abduction and murder of an unwary passenger.
“We have checked all the taxis from Otopeni, trying to find out if they work legally and if they use meters,” a police press release said.
No more information was offered, but the investigation follows the recent murder of a Japanese girl after a Bucharest airport pickup.
The case stirred a major debate in the country, with many people voicing concerns over cab security.
The 20-year-old Japanese woman, who arrived in mid-August in Bucharest, was helped by a young male to find a cab.
The taxi reportedly headed several kilometers in the opposite direction from where the girl needed to go. Two days later, she was found dead in a forested area.
Soon after, police detained Nicolae Vlad, a 26-year-old man, after he sold her camera and mobile phone.
According to police, Vlad raped and then murdered the girl. He is facing other accusations, as he is accused also of stealing from and raping four other women since 2011. He is also named as a suspect in the killings of two other women, in older police files.
Analysts say that the authorities have to find solution to guarantee the security of passengers.
“The police and the airport should ensure the security of passengers and prevent them from being tricked by cab drivers working there illegally, or by people who pretend to help them find a cab,” journalist Maria Apostol said.
The airport at Otopeni is well known for the number of both legal and unauthorized cab drivers who aggressively try to pick up customers who have just landed and who usually try to trick them on the fares.
Lying 17km north of the city the airport was opened in 1970 but recently extended. "It is a spacious, efficient airport,” reads one Bucharest city guide for foreigners.
“You should beware of, and ignore, the taxi drivers who will besiege you as you make your way through Arrivals," it adds.
"Ignore them, even if they have 'Official Taxi' badges (the badges are meaningless). Swear at them if you have to: they will eventually get the message.”
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