Four men have been convicted by the Noord-Holland District Court for jointly defrauding and extorting tourists who visit 2016 and 2017 got into the taxi with them at Schiphol. They are sentenced to prison terms of 03 days and six months.

Two of the men have also been proven to be involved in blackmailing a Swedish tourist. One of them stole money and a camera from his backpack. Earlier this month the Public Prosecution Service demanded up to two years in prison against the four men, who did not have a license to offer taxi transport at the airport and charged excessively high rates.

The men regularly addressed customers in the arrivals hall or on the street near Schiphol. They sometimes wore a yellow vest or had a taxi sign on. Often the two or three of them drove with the customer to the destination. This happened without a price agreement or without adhering to the price agreement. The taximeter was often not used or was tampered with.

Once arrived on location, customers were confronted with an excessively high fare. When customers protested against this, they faced threats. This sometimes happened in combination with physical touching. They also used a comparable method of defrauding and extorting during carnival in 2017, in the south of the Netherlands.

Easy prey It is blamed on the men that they mainly targeted foreign travelers who were often in the Netherlands for the first time. Because they do not know the language and are not known in the Netherlands, they are seen as relatively easy prey. The court also sees the actions of the men as harmful to the image of the Netherlands in general and taxi drivers in particular. There was no respect for their customers and they were only concerned with financial gain.

The court opts for a lower sentence than demanded by the Public Prosecution Service because it has not been sufficiently proven that the men intended to commit violent crimes. In principle, prison sentences of one year are considered appropriate. However, because the reasonable term for trial has been considerably exceeded, all the men no longer work in the taxi industry and have no longer committed any criminal offences, lower prison terms are imposed. Two customers also filed claims for damages. Only the suspect who was present during this scam has to reimburse the customers for the excess paid for the ride.

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