Arrest after 150kmh Auckland taxi chase

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 14:08 10/01/2013

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A taxi driver is contemplating a career change after a passenger allegedly assaulted him, drove his cab the wrong way down the motorway and sped away from police.

Cherl Joo Hwang's Cheap Taxi was badly damaged as the man hit a motorway barrier while trying to evade police about 11pm last night.

Hwang gave the man a ride to Bruce McLaren Rd in Henderson, but said the passenger told him he couldn't pay the $10 fare. 

An argument ensued and Hwang claims his passenger hit him on the head, punched the cab and threatened to kill him.

"I said 'OK, I'll take you where you want to go'. I just wanted to get rid of him as soon as possible," he said today.

"He was bigger than me."

Hwang got out of the cab to get away from the man, who followed him before allegedly getting back into it and speeding off.

Inspector Ian Brooker said the man drove erratically and at one point hit a median barrier in St Lukes.

He also drove the wrong way down the northwestern motorway.

Police abandoned the chase when speeds reached 150kmh, Brooker said. 

The man later pulled over near Western Springs and fled on foot.

Police used the taxi's GPS to track the vehicle and used dogs to find him.

Hwang claims the damage to his cab would cost more to repair than the second-hand Toyota Camry was worth. 

To make matters worse, Hwang has no insurance.

"I was supposed to get third party insurance this week," he said. 

"After this incident I'm thinking maybe I'll become a bus driver instead. I'm pretty shaken up."

A spokeswoman from Cheap Cabs said it was comforting that the new cab emergency systems and cameras could help police trace the vehicle and will help the prosecution. 
 
A 40-year-old unemployed man will appear in the Waitakere District Court today charged with assaulting and threatening to kill the taxi driver, damaging a police car, reckless driving and a raft of other charges.

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- Auckland Now

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