An investigation has begun by the Busan Dong-bu Police Station into illegal rental car operators preying on tourists, chauffeuring them around Busan, and then imposing exorbitant charges.
Despite the widespread problem of unauthorized car rentals targeting foreigners, the authorities responsible for crackdowns and arrests have failed to effectively stop the issue.
According to local media reports, the police station revealed that it is probing ten illegal rental car operators for allegedly deploying unregistered vehicles to pick up tourists, charging three to four times the standard taxi fare, a violation of the Automobile Transportation Business Act.
These operators, using large vans, have been operating unlawfully at Busan Station’s exits 1, 3, and 5 in Choryang-dong.
Under the Passenger Transport Business Act, businesses transporting customers must obtain local government permission after registering. However, these operators have been running rental cars like taxis without proper authorization.
Illegal rental car drivers have been approaching foreign tourists at Busan Station, misleading them into believing they were legitimate taxis, only to charge exorbitant rates upon reaching their destinations. The increasing number of affected foreign tourists poses a risk to Busan’s image as a tourist city.
The city of Busan has said that limited authority is the biggest challenge in conducting crackdowns.
An official from the Busan City Taxi Transportation Department explained that the city lacks the authority to investigate, making it challenging to enforce an investigation even when present on-site after receiving a report. To combat illegal rental cars effectively, the official emphasized the need for active police crackdowns.
The Busan Police Agency’s Traffic Division acknowledged the challenges, stating that plainclothes police officers must conduct undercover operations for effective crackdowns.
However, with only four people on the team responsible, limitations exist. The authorities plan to display crackdown placards to raise awareness.