The West Australian
(Perth, Australia)
15 May 2001

Taxi attack brutal but most cabbies safer

By Ben Harvey

Wanted: The two men sought over the attack in which a taxi driver was choked with a rope from behind, punched in the face, left unconscious and robbed in a South Perth apartment block carpark on Sunday.

Security cameras in cabs have cut in half the number of bashings of taxi drivers in the past two years, according to Taxi Council chairman Kevin Foley.

Mr Foley's comments came after a 64-year-old driver was choked with a rope and beaten by two passengers on Sunday.

He said the incident was brutal but taxi drivers still opposed erecting security screens between the driver and passengers.

Mr Foley said the driver for Black and White Taxis picked up two passengers on Hay Street in the city at 4.55pm.

Det-Sen. Sgt Bill Munnee, from Cannington, said the driver took the men to the carpark of Riverview apartments on Mill Point Road, South Perth. One tried to strangle him from behind. The other, who was in the front, punched him in the face.

The driver blacked out for several minutes. When he came to, he had been robbed. Police called an ambulance but the driver was not taken to hospital.

Mr Foley said attacks on taxi drivers had more than halved since cameras were made compulsory in metropolitan taxis two years ago.

"And I am probably being conservative when I say they have dropped by that much," he said.

Signs in taxis which hammered home the surveillance cameras were a deterrent to troublemakers.

"People think twice about doing anything because they are under scrutiny," he said. "We used to have a lot of trouble getting drivers in the evening but that's not the case any more."

Mr Foley said security screens were not needed in WA. Taxi companies in New South Wales which had fitted screens had later opted for security cameras with better results.

Police have asked anyone with information on the attack or the offenders to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. The first offender was Caucasian, 180cm tall, aged 25 to 30, medium build, collar-length blond hair and beard, Australian accent and wearing a long-sleeved light-coloured shirt and light-coloured trousers. The second was Caucasian, aged 25, medium build with short black hair and wearing a dark duffle coat.

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