Since last year, Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has been cracking down on Korean taxi vans who have installed illegal taximeters, for the purpose of overcharging foreign tourists. Last year's crackdown occurred around the same time of year as the current current crackdown going on right now.
The key aspect of the crackdown is that these seem to be regular vans disguised as taxis, yet the drivers are not actually licensed to operate their vehicles for taxi service. The vans would be disguised to have a taxi light on top and velcro-attached taximeter that is configured to accelerate taxi rate to as much as 900 won per 30 meters. Additionally, fake receipts would be issued, along with business cards with inactive phone numbers.
Past news reports have indicated that the 'Call Van' overcharging has become a big problem, with foreigners being charged enormous rates compared to regular taxi fees, particularly when travelling to/from different cities, such as when traveling to/from Incheon International Airport. Some example reports have included a Thai national having to pay 400,000 won for van taxi from Incheon to Bucheon. In another case, a Singaporean tourist paid 72,000 won for the relatively short trip from Myeongdong to the Hongdae area. Roughly 10 times the normal rate.
The above video reflects more info of last year's crackdown and reveals how the drivers can quickly remove the taximeter to evade investigation and manipulate pricing to unsuspecting foreign passengers.
Like last year, this month's crackdown has seen the police focusing the area of crackdown around the Myeongdong and Dongdaemun areas, where there was an increase in foreign tourists and foreign pedestrian traffic, due to Japanese Golden Week and Chinese Labor Day.
The police are strengthening the crackdown and will continue to monitor developments over the summer months, when tourism peaks.
The police have stated, “In order to reduce crimes committed against foreign tourists, people should actively report to relevant organizations like 112 and Tourist Complaint Center(1330), if they experience anything suspicious like this.”