Prague, July 18 (CTK) – A Prague taxi driver held a tourist hostage on Saturday in order to wring out the fare, 70 times overpriced, from her male partner, Michaela Tepla, from the city police, told CTK today, adding that a hotel receptionist helped the tourists in the tense situation.

The couple used a taxi on a route of less than two kilometres. On arrival at their hotel, the driver put the fare at 1,920 crowns though the Prague City Hall previously set the highest possible fare at 28 crowns per kilometre.

The unexpected high sum demanded by the driver took the tourists by surprise.

“The clients became suspicious of the driver because the speedometer was not switched on. They asked the driver how he calculated such a high sum for such a short ride. They asked him to show his price list to them,” Tepla said.

The tourists did not have the sum requested and they wanted to fetch some money from their hotel room.

“The taxi driver ordered then that only the man go to the hotel, and he kept the woman locked up in his car,” Tepla said.

The hotel receptionist noticed the dispute and started negotiations with the driver, who subsequently lowered the fare to 800 crowns and let the woman get out of the car.

The receptionist, however, insisted that the fare was still overpriced. He gave 300 crowns to the driver, who tore the banknotes into pieces, threw them on the ground and started threatening the receptionist to find him one day and prepare a slow, painful death for him. Afterwards, he drove off, Tepla said.

Elsewhere in Prague on Saturday, a taxi driver wanted a foreign woman to pay over 6,000 crowns for a 14-km-long ride from the city centre to her hotel on the outskirts, though the usual price for a ride at this distance does not cross 500 crowns.

The driver even originally demanded 480 euros, which is 12,500 crowns, from the woman before halving the sum.

The woman lodged a criminal complaint against him. The police caught the driver and announced that he committed similar offences repeatedly before.

($1=22.762 crowns)

rtj/dr/ms