On August 4, two 13-year-olds from Shenzhen convinced an unsuspecting taxi driver to drive them 1,400 kilometers despite only carrying RMB200 between them. The teens promised to pay the driver in full at the end of the journey but were unable to deliver, South China Morning Post reports.
The boys used the Didi ride-hailing account of one of their parents to book the taxi, and eventually racked up a fare of RMB6,700 for a 20-hour trip to Chongqing. The two classmates claimed that they ordered the taxi because they were bored during their holiday and wanted to travel.
The taxi driver, surnamed Zhang, said that he was surprised to receive such a long-distance request: “At the time, I was curious why they wanted to take a taxi so far. But they said they had the money, so I felt it was not good to ask again.”
According to Chongqing media, one of the boys had told the driver he had an aunt in Chongqing who would cover the costs. However, after they arrived she refused to pick them up or pay the hefty bill.
The youths then got in touch with their parents, who reached out to police. Zhang took them to a local station, where they were presumably reprimanded for their prank.
The boys’ families offered to pay Zhang RMB2,000, less than a third of the fare, prompting Didi Chuxing to step in and pay the whole fee of RMB6,700 last Wednesday.
China’s most popular ride-hailing application already has some anti-fraud measures in place, such as forcing new users and passengers with spotty records to pay ride fares upfront.
However, the tech giant was previously criticized for not implementing enough safety or verification measures, an issue that resurfaced this past May after a young woman was murdered by a man using his father’s Didi driver account.
According to SCMP, Didi is planning to take anti-fraud measures further by issuing upfront bills for orders over a certain mileage and requiring real-name passenger registration, hopefully making future repeats of the Shenzhen boys’ escapade impossible.
Additional research by Bailey Hu
[Cover image via Chongqing Guangdian]